EU Foreign Policy Chief Visits Kyiv Amid Russian Missile Strikes
Josep Borrell, the EU foreign policy chief, and UN nuclear chief Rafael Grossi have both arrived in Kyiv for separate visits as Russian missile strikes continue to take the lives of Ukrainian civilians. Amid the ongoing conflict, a tragic incident occurred in the Kharkiv region, where a 2-month old baby boy lost his life due to a Russian missile strike on February 6.
Borrell, who was visiting Kyiv for the fourth time since the start of Russia’s full scale invasion, stated on Twitter that he will reaffirm the EU’s unwavering support to Ukraine during talks with Ukrainian officials. This support includes military aid, financial assistance through the new 50 billion euro Ukraine facility, and assistance with the EU reform path.
Kyiv, heavily reliant on Western military and financial support, is expecting a 4.5 billion-euro disbursement from the EU next month, following the approval of a four-year, 50 billion-euro assistance package for Ukraine by the 27-member bloc. EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen confirmed that the bloc is set to start payments next month.
On the other hand, a $60 billion U.S. aid package for Ukraine remains blocked in Congress, faced with opposition from some Republicans who are linking funds to significant changes in U.S. border policies.
Meanwhile, Rafael Grossi, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), has also arrived in Kyiv amidst these developments. He held talks with Ukrainian Energy Minister Herman Halushchenko and other Ukrainian officials before visiting the Russia-occupied Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant, Europe’s largest facility. The IAEA has expressed concerns over the potential for a nuclear catastrophe at the plant during the ongoing conflict.
The IAEA has had a monitoring team at the plant since September 2022 but has faced difficulties in inspecting all parts of the power station. Grossi expressed concerns regarding operational safety at the plant amidst personnel cuts, stressing the need to address staffing issues to ensure the safety of the facility in the medium and long term.
President Volodymyr Zelenskiy emphasized the importance of ending the Russian occupation of the plant during his meeting with Grossi.
In addition to these developments, Russian missile strikes continue to claim victims, with a 2-month-old baby losing his life in Zolochiv, and the injury of civilians in Tokarivka and Kherson. The humanitarian situation in Ukraine continues to worsen as the conflict persists.