EU foreign ministers will discuss joint arms purchases and the expansion of sanctions

EU foreign ministers discuss joint arms purchases and expanding sanctions

EU diplomacy chief Josep Borrell before a meeting of foreign ministers of the bloc's member states, January 23, 2023.

Brussels – Today, the foreign ministers of the European Union countries will discuss the idea of ​​jointly buying weapons and ammunition with the aim of replenishing the warehouses and enabling further support for Ukraine. Four days before the first anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, they will also discuss the planned tenth package of anti-Russian sanctions or the expansion of penalties for human rights violations by the Iranian regime. The topic will also be the restriction of women's rights in Afghanistan and its effect on the further provision of aid to the country controlled by the Islamist Taliban movement.

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Before the start of the meeting itself, the ministers will have breakfast with the Russian opposition leader Garri Kasparov, with whom they will discuss the situation of opponents of President Vladimir Putin's regime. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba will arrive at the meeting with EU colleagues, who will inform them of Kyiv's current needs in connection with the continued pressure of Russian troops in the east of the country. Ukraine's leadership is asking Western allies for quick supplies of weapons and ammunition, which the army of the attacked country is running out of.

Ministers will discuss a plan proposed by Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas at a recent summit and supported by EU diplomacy chief Josep Borrell. According to this proposal, EU countries should jointly demand the necessary weapons and ammunition, which is to convince the arms industry to increase production and speed up the supply of armies, including the Ukrainian one.

The topic of the meeting, at which Minister Jan Lipavský will represent the Czech Republic, will be and further sanctions against Russia, which the European bloc wants to formally adopt this Friday on the anniversary of the start of the war. According to a well-informed EU official, the ministers will probably not agree on the specific form of the sanctions, as the states still differ in their view of their details. On the other hand, they could approve further sanctions against Iranian officials responsible for suppressing anti-regime demonstrations and restricting human rights.