EU Considers Military Aid for Ukraine, New Russian Sanctions

European Union foreign ministers are considering fresh sanctions against Russia and more money to help Ukraine’s military at a meeting Monday, while the United States is pledging ongoing support for Ukraine amid Russian airstrikes on critical infrastructure.

The proposed EU package being discussed in Brussels would provide about $2.1 billion to fund arms deliveries for Ukraine.

The EU has already imposed eight rounds of sanctions targeting Russian figures and industries in response to the Russian invasion that began in February. A ninth round would include government officials as well as Russia’s defense and banking industries.

U.S. President Joe Biden spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy by phone Sunday, one of a series of calls Zelenskyy held with world leaders ahead of the EU talks and other key meetings this week.

A White House statement said Biden “reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to continue providing Ukraine with security, economic, and humanitarian assistance, holding Russia accountable for its war crimes and atrocities, and imposing costs on Russia for its aggression.”

French President Emmanuel Macron said after his own conversation with Zelenskyy that Ukraine can count on his country’s support “for as long as it takes to fully regain its sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

Macron highlighted a conference France is hosting Tuesday to organize aid to help Ukraine “through the winter” as well as another looking forward to rebuilding efforts in Ukraine.

Zelenskyy said he also spoke Sunday with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan about the prospect of expanding the Black Sea Grain Initiative under which Ukraine has been able to export its grain from three ports.

Power grid

Zelenskyy said in his nightly address Sunday that crews had managed to partially restore power service in the southern city of Odesa, where Russian strikes Saturday hit two power plants and knocked out power to about 1.5 million people.

The Ukrainian leader said restoration work was ongoing in other areas of the region, but that Odesa was the hardest-hit.

Since October, Russia has been targeting Ukraine’s power grid. Zelenskyy says the attacks are war crimes targeting civilian life, while Moscow says they are militarily legitimate.

Some information for this story came from The Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters.

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