REPLAY. War in Ukraine: European leaders pledge to overcome Hungarian veto to help kyiv

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Emmanuel Macron expects Viktor Orban to “behave like a European”

“I expect from Viktor Orban in the coming months that, being respected, his legitimate interests being taken into account, he will behave like a European and not take our political progress hostage,” said the French president after the a European summit where Budapest vetoed the granting of 50 billion euros in financial aid to Ukraine.

EU pledges to overcome Hungarian veto to help Ukraine

European leaders pledged Friday to support Ukraine, whether or not Viktor Orban’s Hungary confirms its veto of 50 billion euros in aid at a new summit in early 2024. “Until then, we will use time to ensure that whatever happens, we have an operational solution at this summit,” said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

Georgia: tens of thousands gather to celebrate EU candidate status

Tens of thousands of people gathered on Friday in the streets of Georgia’s capital, Tbilisi, to celebrate obtaining candidate status for the European Union, an alliance that this small Caucasian country sees as protection against Russian neighbor. Waving Georgian and European flags, the demonstrators gathered in a square in the city center, noted an AFP journalist. The day before, European leaders had decided to grant this status to Georgia, which has been demanding it since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022?

Ukraine calls for release of EU aid in January 2024

The Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs called this Friday for the lifting, from January, of the blockage of 50 billion euros in aid from the European Union for Ukraine due to the veto of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban. “We expect all necessary legal procedures to be completed by January 2024, which would allow us to receive the funds in question as soon as possible,” the ministry said in a statement.

France considers “very worrying” the lack of news from Russian opponent Alexeï Navalny

The lack of news from Russian political opponent Alexeï Navalny, who was taken from his prison to an unknown destination, is “very worrying”, said this Friday the deputy spokesperson for the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs. “France considers Russia responsible for the health of its detainees, in particular political prisoners, and recalls its international obligations relating to respect for human rights,” underlined Christophe Lemoine in a press release, adding that the health of Alexeï Navalny had “severely deteriorated since his detention” in January 2021.E

A new drone crater discovered on the Romanian side

Romania, a NATO member, discovered a crater on its soil on Thursday caused by the explosion of a drone targeting Danube port infrastructure in neighboring Ukraine, in a context of intensifying Russian attacks. Faced with this “new violation of Romanian airspace”, “the head of the Russian diplomatic mission has been summoned”, announced the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a press release, condemning “the repeated attacks” by Russia, ” including the Romanian-Ukrainian border. NATO allies have been informed and consultations are underway.R

Russian opponent Alexeï Navalny was taken from his prison to an “unknown” location, according to his supporters

Russian opponent Alexei Navalny was taken from his prison to an unknown destination, his supporters said this Friday, a move that could mean his transfer to a penitentiary with even harsher conditions. According to Kira Iarmich, the exiled spokesperson for the anti-corruption activist, a court informed the opponent’s lawyer that Alexei Navalny had “left the Vladimir region” where he was incarcerated. “We don’t know to which destination exactly,” she wrote on X (formerly Twitter). His relatives have not heard from the opponent since December 6.

Blockage of aid to Ukraine: the Kremlin welcomes Hungary which “defends” its interests

The Kremlin said on Friday that Hungary was “defending” its interests, “unlike many European countries”, after Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban blocked new aid from the European Union to Ukraine. “Hungary is a sovereign country, it has its interests. And unlike many European countries, it firmly defends its interests, which we appreciate,” said spokesperson Dmitry Peskov. Russia has been waging an offensive against Ukraine for almost two years and Viktor Orban is the only EU leader to have maintained close ties with the Kremlin.P

The Kremlin judges that the accession of Ukraine and Moldova would destabilize the EU

The Kremlin estimated this Friday that the entry of Ukraine and Moldova would “destabilize” the European Union because these countries do not “meet the criteria”, the day after the opening of accession negotiations. The spokesperson for the Russian presidency, Dmitry Peskov, also considered that the green light given to kyiv and Chisinau by the EU, which also granted candidate status to Georgia, was intended to “harm Russia “.

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Viktor Orban conditions aid to Ukraine on the release of all funds for Hungary

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban demanded on Friday “all of the European funds” of which billions of euros remain blocked, before possibly considering lifting his veto on new aid for Ukraine. “I have always said that if we proceeded with an amendment to the EU budget (…), Hungary would seize the opportunity to clearly demand what it deserves. Not half, not a quarter, but totality,” the nationalist leader said in an interview on state radio.

Aid to Ukraine: Viktor Orban’s veto

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, fiercely opposed to Ukraine’s future entry into Europe, ultimately abstained in the vote to launch Ukraine’s membership negotiations in Europe. On the other hand, he said no to the payment of European aid of 50 billion euros. But unanimity is obligatory. “Summary of the night: veto for additional funds for Ukraine” as for the proposed revision of the European budget, indicated Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban on X (ex-Twitter).

Summary of the nightshift:
? veto for the extra money to Ukraine,
? veto for the MFF review.
We will come back to the issue next year in the #EUCO after proper preparation.

— Orbán Viktor (@PM_ViktorOrban) December 15, 2023

EU postpones new aid plan for Ukraine

Finland closes its border with Russia again

The border between Finland and Russia only reopened for a few hours on Thursday. Helsinki had reopened two border crossings but decided to close them a few hours later, accusing Russia of orchestrating a migration crisis. “The phenomenon has started again and we are going to close the entire border,” Finnish Prime Minister Mari Rantanen warned on Thursday.

Hundreds of people demonstrate in front of kyiv town hall

Several hundred people demonstrated in front of kyiv City Hall on Thursday to demand that the municipality use its budget for the war against Russia rather than for local projects. The civic group “Money for the AFU” believes that Kiev City Hall’s spending is “unnecessary” and “poorly planned.”

Ukraine receives new Patriot anti-aircraft system

Germany delivered a new Patriot air defense system to Ukraine. A military tool that will be used by the Ukrainian army to face Russian missile and drone attacks. The Ukrainian Defense Ministry welcomes on X (formerly Twitter) “much-needed military aid”.

The European Union decides on new sanctions against Russia

The European Union has approved a new package of sanctions against Russia, which notably includes a ban on imports of Russian diamonds into the EU, said a statement from the Twenty-Seven. European leaders, meeting at a summit in Brussels, welcomed the adoption of this new package, the 12th since the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022. The EU will also take measures to improve the effectiveness of sanctions on Russian oil.

Volodymyr Zelensky thanks Emmanuel Macron

Volodymyr Zelensky and Emmanuel Macron spoke to each other following the EU announcement. The Ukrainian president thanked the French president for “his support”. “Congratulations,” wrote Emmanuel Macron on X (formerly Twitter).

EU says yes to negotiations with Ukraine and Moldova

Ukraine but also Moldova

The European Union has given the green light to the opening of negotiations for accession to Europe with Ukraine but also Moldova, a country located between Romania and Ukraine. “This is a victory for all of us (…), a new page in our history. Two years ago, no one would have imagined” such a scenario, reacted the President of Moldova Maia Sandu on Facebook. Moldova has been an independent country since 1991.

“Victory for Ukraine,” says Volodymyr Zelensky

As soon as the European decision was announced, President Volodymyr Zelensky reacted. “Victory for Ukraine. Victory for all of Europe. A victory that motivates, inspires and strengthens,” said the Ukrainian president. He adds: “History is written by those who never tire of fighting for freedom.” Volodymyr Zelensky previously addressed the European Council.

Europe to open accession negotiations with Ukraine

The European Union will soon be able to open negotiations for Ukraine’s accession to the EU. It was the President of the European Council Charles Michel who announced it on Thursday, at the end of the day. A unanimous decision by the 27 countries was required. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban ultimately chose to abstain, which does not block the process. Viktor Orban is the only EU leader who has maintained close ties with Russia. Despite his abstention, Viktor Orban said on Facebook that Ukraine’s future integration into Europe was “a bad decision” and a “senseless” choice.

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