“The purpose of all three sanctions packages is to prevent Russia from carrying out this brutal aggression on Ukraine. The European Union once again demonstrated unity, our political position was quick, efficient and clear,” Plenković told the Ici l’Europe programme, speaking in French.
He spoke of the consequences of the Russian invasion, which has entered its third week.
“First, it is a tragedy for the Ukrainian people, with whom we stand in solidarity. Second, it has triggered a refugee crisis in Europe unprecedented since 1945, and third, energy prices have gone up,” Plenković said, adding that the latter was the main subject of a two-day summit of EU heads of state or government in Versailles, which ended on Friday.
Europe’s dependency on Russian gas is above 40 per cent, and the EU leaders are trying to change this “by increasing domestic production or by importing from other gas producing countries such as Norway, Azerbaijan, Libya or Algeria, or by importing liquefied natural gas by sea,” Plenković said in the Talking Europe programme. He mentioned the construction of the LNG terminal on the northern Adriatic island of Krk, which provided Croatia with an alternative gas supply route.
The EU heads of state or government have sent “a strong political signal that we want to intensify relations with Ukraine in any way possible on its European path,” the Croatian PM said.
However, the 27 EU member states have made it clear to Ukraine that it will not be able to join the EU under fast track.
Plenković said he had met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv in December and signed a declaration on Ukraine’s European perspective, stressing that he remained committed to this process.
Plenković said it was important that the EU was united in its condemnation of the Russian invasion. “After the statements by the Russian foreign minister we can conclude that we live in two different realities and that’s why we will continue sending strong messages and adopting packages of restrictive measures to let Moscow know that what it is doing is not appropriate and that it should end it immediately,” he said.
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