Spain has added six Hawk missile launchers from the Army to the aid promised this Thursday in Granada by the acting head of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, to the president of Ukraine, Volodímir Zelenski, in order to against possible Russian bombings on civilian targets, critical infrastructure and the defense of the new grain corridor.
Sánchez raised this commitment in person to the Ukrainian president during the bilateral meeting they had before the start of the meeting of the European Political Community, the first of the two major leaders’ summits that the Andalusian city of Granada will host this Thursday and Friday.
It was a half-hour meeting, which was the first time that Zelensky visited Spain, as he himself announced as soon as he landed.
According to government sources, after these conversations, Spain is going to make these six launchers available to Ukraine, which join the six already sent and the military aid committed this Thursday to face the planned Russian offensive.
Zelensky responds to the sending of military aid
Before it became clear what additional weapons Spain would send, Zelensky referred to the Spanish commitment with a message on social networks.
The Ukrainian president has specified, however, that during the interview they talked about anti-drone systems and additional anti-aircraft defense systems, as well as artillery.
The protection of the grain export corridor opened by Ukraine in the Black Sea in defiance of the maritime blockade declared by Russia was another of the topics of conversation at the meeting, in which Ukraine’s European integration aspirations were also discussed.
Zelenski has also expressed interest to Sánchez, at a time when Spain holds the presidency of the Council of the EU, in his country’s process of joining the community club and the head of the Government has reiterated his support at the same time. who has appealed to comply with the requirements for this.
Sánchez has ratified Spain’s “firm” support for his country’s future entry into the European Union as well as that of others who aspire to do so, a process towards which he assures that there is an “empathetic and open” position.
But no concrete commitment will emerge from the meeting that the Twenty-Seven are going to hold this Friday in Granada and it is expected that some significant step will be taken regarding a future enlargement at the European Council to be held in Brussels at the end of the month.
Volodymyr Zelensky, for his part, highlighted the need for Europe to be united in the face of Russian hybrid attacks and will insist on the urgency of sending more air defense systems to Ukraine due to the risk that Russia will attack its energy infrastructure again this winter.
“The first challenge we all have is to protect unity in Europe, and I am not talking only about the EU countries but about all of Europe,” Zelensky told the media, before highlighting the “importance for Ukraine of having a defensive shield.” for the winter” .
This is due to the forecast that Russia will resume attacks with drones and missiles against the power plants and distribution lines that allow Ukrainians to have light and heating with the arrival of cold weather.
King Felipe VI meets with Zelensky
The king met this Thursday with the president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, at the end of the summit, as reported by the Zarzuela Palace.
On the occasion of this summit, the kings receive fifty European heads of state and government at the Alhambra prior to a dinner.
It will be before this reception that Felipe VI will hold a meeting with Zelensky, the first in which both of them are involved and in which it will also be the first visit to Spain for the Ukrainian president.
Ukraine, “almost” ready to enter the EU
The incorporation of Ukraine into the EU is one of the central issues of the Granada summits, and thus, it was not only an issue addressed by Zelensky and Sánchez.
The Ukrainian president, after meeting with the president of the European Parliament, Roberta Metsola, stated that his country “has almost met” the seven requirements that the EU imposes on it to be able to open accession negotiations at the end of this year.
The Ukrainian head of state thanked Metsola for the support of the European Parliament to Ukraine and discussed with Maltese politics the possibility of “new sanctions” against Russia and other measures to confront “Russian propaganda.”
But he regretted the EU’s slowness in approving a new package of sanctions against Russia. “The twelfth package of sanctions is coming more slowly, unfortunately,” Zelensky said to questions from Ukrainian journalists at the end of the European Political Community summit.
The Ukrainian head of state cited the Russian nuclear industry and the board of directors of Gazprom among the Russian sectors and entities that Ukraine expects to be sanctioned by the EU.
The United Kingdom, Italy, the Netherlands, France, Albania and the European Commission agreed this Thursday during the summit of the European Political Community on an eight-point plan to cooperate against irregular immigration and gangs that promote human trafficking.
The five countries and the Commission committed to strengthening collaboration to facilitate the “return and readmission” of immigrants, and to establish a network of “liaison officers” to expedite these processes, says a joint statement released by Downing Street, the official office. of the British Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak.
The plan underlines the willingness of the signatories to “help allied countries strengthen the protection of their borders to prevent unauthorized crossings,” as well as to reinforce their “search and rescue capabilities” with the movement of personnel, equipment and other material that is necessary.
The five States and the Commission also commit to trying to reach agreements with “key countries” in order to “address the root causes of immigration” and “support sustainable development through education, job creation and actions to climate adaptation,” says the joint statement.
Germany works to send another Patriot
The Ukrainian president also met with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, and announced after the meeting that “Germany is working to supply Ukraine with one more Patriot missile system so that the country can protect its infrastructure during the winter.
“I am grateful to Germany for its support in defending our freedom and our people,” Zelensky wrote on his X social network account.
After participating in the plenary session of the summit, Zelensky has held bilateral meetings with numerous leaders of the continent, whom he has asked to send more air defense systems to Ukraine to protect energy infrastructure against the risk of new Russian attacks against power plants and thermals this winter.
Meeting of the leaders of Azerbaijan and Armenia in Brussels
European Council President Charles Michel will invite Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev and Armenia’s Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian to a meeting in Brussels later this month to begin talks on a potential peace deal.
This was stated by the former Belgian Prime Minister after meeting with the Armenian leader, accompanied by the President of France, Emmanuel Macron, and the German Chancellor, Olaf Scholz, on the sidelines of the European Political Community summit in Granada.
“We are determined to play a role in supporting a stable and prosperous Caucasus. We have no hidden agenda and that is why we believe that we can be an effective interlocutor,” he said in statements to the media.
A Summit without Erdogan… and without the Azerbaijani president
The acting President of the Government has been in charge of starting the third summit of the European Political Community with his welcoming speech before the plenary session, in which the leaders of Azerbaijan and Turkey are not present.
The absence of the first two became known this Wednesday and, while the Turk, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, resorted to “agenda reasons” to justify himself, several Azerbaijani media did explain that the cancellation of Ilham Alíev is due to discrepancies with the countries that They play the role of mediators, in addition to the European Union, in the open conflict with Armenia.
Precisely, around thirty people have gathered in the Plaza de las Pasiegas in Granada to demand that Europe sanction Azerbaijan for the attacks on the Armenian population, a demand that seeks the attention of the participants of the double European summit.
The Europe of the future
Sánchez has also appealed to the “shared desire” to collaborate to build the Europe of the future, regardless of their position on the continent, as members of the EU or outside it.
He has assured that this “Europe of the future can only be built on the foundations of security, stability and prosperity” especially at a “crucial” moment like the current one.
The impact of digitalization and artificial intelligence, energy sovereignty or the new multilateral order are some of these challenges, in the face of which Europe – he said – can speak with the moral authority that its history grants it.
The war in Ukraine, however, has dominated much of the leaders’ statements, specifically about the United States’ plans in this regard, where sending more material and aid depends on the budget situation.
Zelensky himself, when asked about the non-inclusion of aid to Ukraine in the latest budget extension approved by the United States Congress, answered that Ukrainians “stopped worrying in the first days of the large-scale war.” .
Zelensky recalled that Biden promised him “one hundred percent” of the White House’s support and assured that Ukraine also has a commitment to continue receiving help from both American political parties in Congress.
Borrell: “Europe cannot replace the US”
The high representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs, Josep Borrell, assured that “Europe cannot replace the United States” in aid to Ukraine and added that Washington is “essential” in this area despite the fact that the bloc is working on a new assistance program to Kiev.
The head of community diplomacy stated that, “certainly, we can do more, but the United States is essential in supporting Ukraine.”
On the other hand, the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, showed her confidence that the United States is working to continue supporting Ukraine economically and the fact that its non-inclusion in the last extension of the budgets be a matter of “calendar”.
The head of the community Executive also recalled, in this sense, that the EU is working to approve a new financial assistance program for Ukraine of 50 billion euros for the period between 2024 and 2027.
Sánchez celebrates the agreement on the migration pact
Pedro Sánchez has also celebrated the agreement reached on the Crisis Regulation, the last piece of the European Pact on Migration and Asylum that remained to be put together, because a point of balance has been found between solidarity and responsibility that is of interest to Spain.
He has pointed out that it is an agreement in which “in the end we all had to give in” but that it lays the foundations so that, together with the European Parliament, this pact on migration and asylum can be definitively achieved.
He recalled that Spain is a country very interested in seeing this pact go ahead, which has, as Sánchez highlighted, two fundamental axes: solidarity and responsibility.
Zelensky announced this Thursday on his social networks his arrival in Granada to participate in the summit.
“I have arrived in Granada, Spain, to participate in the summit of the European Political Community,” Zelensky wrote. “Our common goal is to guarantee the security and stability of our common European home,” added the Ukrainian head of state.
What is the European Political Community?
The European Political Community , which the meeting held this Thursday in Granada, is a forum that was born last year at the impulse of the French president, Emmanuel Macron, and the one in Granada is its third meeting after those held in the Czech Republic and Moldova.
Its objective is to be a forum for dialogue to discuss issues of common interest that take on special importance in situations such as those derived from the war in Ukraine.
Kosovo, a territory that Spain and four other EU countries do not recognize as a country, will also be represented as in the two previous meetings.
Throughout the day there will be three round tables in which European leaders will be divided, one of them on digitalization, with special attention to artificial intelligence, the second on energy and the third on multilateralism.
The final appearance of the leaders in Granada canceled
The summit of the European Political Community being held this Thursday in Granada will conclude without the usual appearance of the representatives of the fifty leaders present there.
It was initially planned that once the summit was over, the acting president of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, would appear before journalists, although without questions, along with Maia Sandu, president of Moldova (who hosted the last one held so far), and the prime minister. British, Rishi Sunak, since his country will host the next meeting of this community.
Diplomatic sources have indicated that the appearance will not finally be held because Sunak has to return to his country before the meeting ends for scheduling reasons.
That meeting was predicted to be the first step to end more than 30 years of conflict between Armenians and Azerbaijanis with the mediation of the European Union and the leaders of France and Germany, and the cancellation of the trip was announced after the growing tensions of the recent days, which includes the death of an Armenian soldier in a border incident.
After the summit, the kings will receive the European leaders at the Alhambra and will later offer them a dinner.
By Nadeem Faisal Baiga