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EU weighs Ukraine help as new refugee exodus beckons



BRUSSELS — European Union leaders sought Friday to shore up their help for Ukraine after President Volodymyr Zelenskyy warned that Russia was making an attempt to spark a refugee exodus by destroying his war-ravaged nation’s power infrastructure.

Almost eight months into the warfare, Russia has more and more focused Ukraine’s energy stations, waterworks and different key infrastructure with missile and drone strikes. In the meantime, the EU is battling the fallout of getting to urgently wean itself off Russian gasoline and oil because the warfare fuels worth hikes and market nervousness.

In a speech by way of video hyperlink to European leaders in Brussels on Thursday, Zelenskyy stated “assaults by Russian cruise missiles and Iranian fight drones have destroyed greater than a 3rd of our power infrastructure. Due to this, sadly we’re now not capable of export electrical energy that can assist you preserve stability.”

The president added: “Russia additionally provokes a brand new wave of migration of Ukrainians to EU international locations,” by attacking electrical energy and heating sources “in order that as many Ukrainians as potential transfer to your international locations.”

Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas described the focusing on of civilian infrastructure as “pure terrorism.”

Russia’s assaults are supposed to “make us afraid. It’s to make us chorus from the choices that we’d in any other case make, and that is terrible that it’s potential to do that within the 12 months 2022,” Kallas informed reporters at an EU summit in Brussels.

Her Latvian counterpart, Krisjanis Karins, stated “Russia’s warfare is turning into ever extra brutal, now blatantly aimed not on the Ukrainian navy however at Ukrainian residents.”

European Fee President Ursula von der Leyen has branded Russia’s assaults on civilian infrastructure as “warfare crimes.”

Greater than 4.3 million Ukrainian residents have registered for momentary safety within the EU. Poland is internet hosting virtually virtually a 3rd of them.

A draft of a summit assertion has the EU leaders affirming they “will stand with Ukraine for so long as it takes” with continued political, navy and financial help.

Additionally they say the 27-nation bloc will “step up its humanitarian response, specifically for winter preparedness.” The draft textual content, seen by The Related Press, is anticipated to be adopted later Friday, though its exact wording may change.

The EU is deeply divided over the best way to deal with the arrival of migrants with out authorization, a problem that lies on the coronary heart of one of many bloc’s biggest-ever political crises. However many international locations, significantly in central and japanese Europe, to this point have put aside their objections to welcome massive numbers of warfare refugees from Ukraine.

The leaders of the EU’s member international locations are also set to warn Belarus towards serving to Russia within the warfare. Ukraine’s navy leaders warned this week that Russia is deploying plane and troops to Belarus and that Russian forces may assault from there to chop provide routes for Western weapons and tools.

“The Belarusian regime should absolutely abide by its obligations beneath worldwide regulation. The European Union stays prepared to maneuver rapidly with additional sanctions towards Belarus,” the draft summit assertion says.

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