EU comments on warplanes for Kiev
European Council President Charles Michel has said that the bloc’s military aid to Ukraine will not include jet fighters, which Kiev has insisted it badly needs to fend off the ongoing Russian invasion.
“The European Union is definitely not at war with Russia. A war is what Russia has launched against Ukraine, a country very friendly and very close to the EU. That is why we support Ukraine on all levels,” Michel said in an interview with several European newspapers on Saturday.
The chief of the EU’s top political body confirmed that the EU pledged €500 million ($547 million) in military aid to Kiev, €450 million ($492 million) of which will go to buying weapons.
“But these European funds will not be used to finance the delivery of combat aircraft to Ukraine,” Michel noted. He said, however, that the funds may be used by individual EU member states to supply the Ukrainian Air Force with spare parts and other equipment.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has been asking NATO countries to establish a no-fly zone over Ukraine, or at least provide Kiev with jet fighters. A no-fly zone could see NATO shoot down Russian planes in Ukraine, likely leading to a direct confrontation with Moscow, and has been rejected by the military bloc.
Several US news outlets reported on Saturday that the White House was working with Warsaw in order to deliver Soviet-era aircraft from Poland to Ukraine. However, Poland previously ruled out sending planes to Kiev.
Russia invaded its neighbor last week, arguing that it was defending the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, which seceded from Ukraine in 2014 and were recognized by Moscow as independent states in February.
Moscow said it sought the “demilitarization and denazification” of the country, without elaborating, but made it clear that it wants Ukraine to officially become a neutral country, renouncing its bid to join NATO.
Kiev said the attack was entirely unprovoked and appealed to the international community for help.