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Before you start reading today’s edition of the Capitals, feel free to have a look at the article Ukraine requests EU membership under fast-track procedure, by Alexandra Brzozowski.
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In today’s news from the Capitals:
As Poland becomes a logistical hub for weapons supplies into Ukraine, Hungary said it would not allow lethal weapons to transit its territory. EURACTIV’s Alexandra Brzozowski and Sarantis Michalopoulos report from the Polish-Ukrainian border. Read more.
German debt brake still applies, despite historical defence spending pledge. The €100 billion the German government announced it would spend on military equipment on Sunday does not mean extra spending is on the table in other areas, a German government spokesperson stressed on Monday. Read more.
Putin considers stopping targetting civilians after call with Macron. Russian President Vladimir Putin has “confirmed his willingness to commit” to stop strikes against civilians, preserve “all civilian infrastructure” and secure roads so they can be “free and safe” following a call with French President Emmanuel Macron, the Elysée said in a press release published Monday. Read more.
Vienna to provide €15 million in humanitarian aid to Ukraine. The Austrian government will provide €15 million in aid, 10,000 helmets and fuel to assist the Ukrainian population as it suffers from the ongoing war waged by Russia, the government has said. Read more.
UK AND IRELAND
Johnson under fire over ‘confused’ stance on Ukrainian refugees. Boris Johnson’s government is under pressure to open up the UK to Ukrainian refugees after Home Secretary, Priti Patel, said on Monday that the government would not waive visa requirements. Read more.
Irish PM: Non-lethal aid to Ukraine not against military neutrality. Ireland will primarily contribute non-lethal supplies as part of the EU’s military aid package for Ukraine after deciding not to provide weaponry in line with its policy of military neutrality. Read more.
NORDICS AND BALTICS
Finnish companies begin to cut ties with Russia. Large Finnish companies are distancing themselves from anything Russian in a show of solidarity towards Ukraine. Read more.
Denmark to send weapons, allow nationals to fight in Ukraine. Denmark will supply Ukraine with high-tech weapons, said Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen during a short press conference alongside Defence Minister Morten Bødsko on Sunday, adding that Danes are free to fight for Ukraine. Read more.
VILNIUS | CHISINAU
Lithuania ready to accept up to 2,000 Ukrainians from Moldova. Lithuania is “ready to accept up to 2,000 refugees that are in Moldova and transfer them to Lithuania,” Interior Minister Agnė Bilotaitė announced in a Facebook post on Monday. Read more.
Spain’s Ribera: Room for extra measures to mitigate war impact on energy markets. “There is room” to take new measures at the EU level to mitigate the impact of war in Ukraine on energy supply and prices, Spanish Ecological Transition Minister Teresa Ribera, said Monday, adding that this can also be done at the national level in Europe, EURACTIV’s partner EFE reported. Read more.
Spain to deploy soon extra troops to support NATO allies. Spain will soon deploy troops on the border between its NATO allies and Russia, Defence Minister Margarita Robles announced on Monday. Read more.
Italy declares state of emergency over Russia-Ukraine war. Italy has declared a state of emergency over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and will send weapons and aid to the latter according to a decree approved by the Italian Council of Ministers on Monday. Read more.
Portugal’s to contribute €8-10 million to EU’s arms package to Ukraine. Portugal’s contribution to the European package to supply weapons to the Ukrainian army will be around “€8-10 million”, Defence Minister João Gomes Cravinho announced on Monday. Read more.
Ukraine ambassador to Portugal asks for support in EU accession, diplomatic cut with Russia. Ukraine’s ambassador to Portugal on Monday asked the Portuguese government to support the country’s accession to the EU and consider the possibility of breaking off relations with Russia, thanking the sanctions and military assistance. Read more.
Czech Prosecutor: Endorsing Russian aggression is a criminal offence. Public speeches endorsing the Russian invasion of Ukraine or praising the Russian Federation’s leaders could be considered a criminal offence, Czech Prosecutor General Igor Stříž warned in an official statement. Read more.
Polish media appeal to tech giants to block Russian propaganda accounts. Polish media, including leading newspapers, web news services and radio stations, have appealed to big tech companies to block accounts and pages connected to Russian government propaganda as Russia continues to wage war on Ukraine. Read more.
Slovakia supports fast-tracking Ukraine EU membership. Prime Minister Eduard Heger (OĽaNO) wants to develop a “special track” of Ukraine’s integration into the EU. Membership of Ukraine was also supported by president Zuzana Čaputová. Both of them are in close contact with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy, who calls on the EU to grant Ukraine immediate membership. Read more.
NEWS FROM THE BALKANS
PRISTINA | BELGRADE
Vucic: Kosovo’s request for fast-track NATO membership idea of EU, US lobbyists. Kosovo’s request for accelerated NATO membership is an idea of EU and US lobbyists aimed at pressuring NATO members who do not recognise Kosovo to do so, Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić claims, adding that “it is not the Kosovo Albanians’ idea, it is their lobbyists’ in the EU and the USA,” Read more.
Bulgaria will not send fighters, troops to Ukraine. Bulgaria will not send troops or fighters to Ukraine, Prime Minister Kiril Petkov announced on Monday, noting that his country does not have enough planes to protect its own sky. Read more.
Croatia to send weapons to Ukraine, provide health care to refugees. Croatia will send weapons worth €16.5 million to Ukraine and provide health care to refugees from the country, and the necessary medical assistance to the wounded, Croatia’s defence and health ministers said on Monday. Read more.
Slovenia sends military aid, including weapons, to Ukraine. Slovenia has sent rifles, ammunition and helmets to Ukraine, Defence Minister Matej Tonin announced Monday, adding that aid had already been dispatched aboard “several aircraft” without revealing the exact quantities. Read more.
Sberbank Serbia liquid, ECB’s restrictions unrelated. Sberbank Serbia is liquid and well capitalised, the National Bank of Serbia (NBS) reported Monday, adding that an estimate by the European Central Bank (ECB) that the bank might face bankruptcy due to a significant drain of deposits reported to have taken place in the bank’s branches in Croatia, Austria and Slovenia, did not refer to it. Read more.
EU Repeats Call for Serbia to Impose Sanctions on Russia. The European Union has repeated calls on Serbia to join the EU in imposing sanctions against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine. Read more.
Frontex: Western Balkans main point of entry for arms smuggled into EU. The Western Balkans is the main point of entry for firearm smuggling into the EU, while among the region’s nationals, Albanians are most frequently found using falsified documents, Frontex, the EU’s border control agency, said in an annual risk analysis report. Read more.
Dodik ready to block BiH’s decision to join EU’s Russia sanctions. Bosnia and Herzegovina will not join the EU’s sanctions against Russia, said Milorad Dodik, the Serb member of the BiH tripartite presidency about a decision that needs the backing of all three presidency members. The two others, Šefik Džaferović and Željko Komšić support the sanctions. Read more.
North Macedonia to donate military equipment to Ukraine. The Macedonian government will donate military material and equipment to Ukraine, according to an announcement of the government’s press office confirmed by Defence Minister Slavjanka Petrovska. Read more.
A rally in support of Russia in Nikšić. President Milo Đukanović condemned the Russian invasion, but there is still discussion in the Assembly on the Declaration about Ukraine. Read more.
Green transition on agenda at EBRD Balkan summit.Transition to green energy was at the center of discussion between six Western Balkan leaders at the EBRD’s fifth Western Balkan Investment Summit, particularly wind and solar power. Read more.
- EU: Extraordinary European Parliament debate on Ukraine with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, European Council President Charles Michel and EU’s chief diplomat Josep Borrell / European Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni participates in G7 meeting of finance ministers / Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki in Brussels.
- Germany: Vice-chancellor Robert Habeck travels to the US to meet with several members of the US Biden administration / Chancellor Olaf Scholz hosts Luxembourgish Prime Minister Xavier Bettel and ECB president Christine Lagarde in Berlin.
- Italy: Prime Minister Draghi reports to Parliament on the Ukrainian crisis.
- Poland/Estonia: NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg meets Polish President Andrzej Duda, Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas in their countries.
- Slovakia: Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson in Bratislava.
- Bulgaria: Parliament will hold an extraordinary session to accept the resignation of Defence Minister Stefan Yanev and to vote for Todor Tagarev as his successor.
- Romania: A meeting of the Supreme Defence Council is scheduled for Tuesday morning.
[Edited by Sarantis Michalopoulos, Alexandra Brzozowski, Daniel Eck, Benjamin Fox, Zoran Radosavljevic, Alice Taylor]