On Monday, November 13, 2023, Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba took part in the meeting of the European Union Foreign Affairs Council and called for increased military assistance to Ukraine, a decision to start negotiations on Ukraine's accession to the EU in December, as well as accelerating work on the 12th package of sanctions against Russia and strengthening cooperation with countries in Asia, Africa and South America through the Peace Formula and the humanitarian program Grain From Ukraine.
"We should never forget who the main figure in the Russia-Ukraine war is. The one whose actions will shape the course of European history. The one whose success will enable Ukraine's and Europe's victory. Today, this person is a Ukrainian infantryman. All types of forces are important, but it is only when infantry sets foot in a village that it is considered liberated, and THIS changes the entire frontline situation, then media headlines, and finally political decisions," the minister said.
Dmytro Kuleba reminded his European colleagues that Ukrainian infantrymen are ordinary Ukrainian men and women, most of whom have never served in the army before. They are people of different backgrounds who have made the choice to defend their country.
"Let us set aside all the nuances of political decision-making and focus on the main question: what should we give the Ukrainian infantryman in order to be successful? The answer consists of two components: the tools for the job and morale," he stressed.
The Foreign Minister of Ukraine expressed gratitude to the EU for the provision of weapons and ammunition, as well as for the steps that raise the morale of our people, including our soldiers. He stressed that it is impossible to overestimate the positive impact of the recent decision of the European Commission, which recommended the opening of negotiations on Ukraine's accession to the EU.
"Thanks to the positive recommendation of the European Commission, we realized that our struggle was not in vain and that our efforts were recognized. We rely on your leaders' unanimous support in December, when the European Council meets to approve the decision to open accession negotiations, " he said.
Dmytro Kuleba assured that Ukraine would make every effort to adopt a decision on the framework of negotiations and reminded that on the same day the Commission released its report, President Zelenskyy signed a relevant decree on preparation for the negotiations.
The minister elaborated on Ukraine's priority military needs. He called for an increase in military assistance and a reduction in the time it takes to deliver it. In particular, it is about combat aircraft, artillery systems, rocket launchers, armored vehicles, tanks, ammunition, radio-electronic warfare, radars, drones, long-range missiles and other items.
The Foreign Minister emphasized the importance of further strengthening short, medium, and long-range air and missile defense and providing appropriate ammunition.
"We are grateful for your assistance in this matter. We are still waiting for the 8th EPF tranche and the creation of a special fund under the European Peace Fund worth €20 billion to help Ukraine. It is also important to accelerate the implementation of the joint EU plan for 1 million pieces of artillery ammunition," the Minister said.
The Ukrainian Foreign Minister reiterated his call for the creation of a common space for the defense industries of the EU and candidate countries: "Over time, this cooperation should become one of the pillars of the EU's Common Security and Defense Policy." He also called for speeding up the adoption of the 12th package of EU sanctions against Russia.
Against the backdrop of the escalation in the Middle East, Dmytro Kuleba suggested that his colleagues significantly strengthen cooperation with countries in Africa, the Arab world, Asia and South America. According to the Ukrainian minister, there are currently two tools to strengthen contacts with these regions: the Ukrainian Peace Formula and the humanitarian program Grain From Ukraine, launched by President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
"On the Peace Formula, we have positive dynamics despite the Middle East escalation. The October meeting in Malta was a timely undertaking, and we thank the European Council, European Commission, and member states for their participation. We must work even harder to ensure the broader participation of global partners in the initiative in order to hold the Global Peace Summit as soon as possible," he stressed.
The Minister reminded colleagues that the second International Food Security Summit, dedicated to the Grain From Ukraine program, will take place in Kyiv on November 25, 2023. He called on the EU and its member states to participate, as this is the best way to demonstrate to partners in Asia, Africa, the Arab world and South America that the European community remains committed to cooperation despite the crises in other parts of the world.
"We are all interested in a Europe that is strong, united, and prosperous. This is a time of war in Europe on a scale that has not been seen in 80 years. We should keep our attention on those who are fighting it. It is in our collective best interests to provide the Ukrainian infantry warrior with the tools he or she needs, as well as decisions that boost morale.
We should all wake up and go to bed asking ourselves, "How else can we help these young Ukrainian men and women succeed?" There is no more important goal than this today. And I am confident that we have the strength and determination to take the necessary steps if we stay the course and remain committed to our common cause," the Minister concluded.