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24 Dec, 2023 15:34

Six EU states resisting Ukraine ‘security guarantees’ – Kiev

The deputy head of Zelensky’s office believes the holdouts will eventually endorse an agreement
Six EU states resisting Ukraine ‘security guarantees’ – Kiev

Six EU member states have yet to support a declaration on security guarantees for Ukraine, a senior official in Kiev has said, signaling that the embattled country will continue to court the holdouts.

The declaration, which was first adopted by members of the G7 group in July, outlines long-term security commitments to Ukraine. It promises Kiev continued military assistance, support in weapons manufacturing, intelligence sharing, and other measures meant to enhance the country’s pro-Western, pro-EU tilt.

Speaking on Ukrainian national TV on Saturday, Andrey Sibiga, the deputy head of President Vladimir Zelensky’s office, revealed that Austria, Croatia, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, and Malta had not endorsed security guarantees, but said Kiev is working to bring them on board. According to Sibiga, there is no reason to persuade them that they need to join in because they all know it will happen sooner or later.

“We’re just talking about specifics, about what this or that state is good at and is willing to take on commitments in one of the frameworks of the declaration. I think that all these countries have the political will to become part of the declaration,” he said.

In September, senior Zelensky aide Mikhail Podoliak said that a total of 28 nations supported the security guarantees, with hopes of increasing the number to 51. 

Sibiga added that the issue was discussed during a recent visit by Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski to Kiev, where he met with Zelensky. Kiev and Warsaw have recently been at odds over protests organized by Polish haulers at the border, who oppose EU rules that they say give their Ukrainian competitors an unfair advantage. 

Meanwhile, Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer, commenting on the security guarantees, said in June that EU countries which remain neutral cannot support the declaration, although he promised to discuss the issue in the future.

Hungary and Slovakia have opposed sending military assistance to Kiev. Budapest has also been skeptical about Ukraine’s aspirations to join the EU, while Bratislava has warned that the country’s accession is “terribly far away.”