Portugal to contribute to Ukraine, reopening of embassy scheduled

  • Lusa
  • 5 May 2022

António Costa said on Wednesday that he will meet President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv and said that a date has already been set for the return of Portugal's ambassador to the Ukrainian capital.

Prime minister António Costa said on Wednesday that he will meet President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv and said that a date has already been set for the return of Portugal’s ambassador to the Ukrainian capital.

António Costa was speaking to journalists at a press conference in the prime minister’s official residence in São Bento, Lisbon, after having met with Ukrainian prime minister Denys Shmygal for an hour via videoconference.

“The date of my visit to Kyiv has been settled and will be made public at the time it is deemed appropriate. It will include not only meetings with the prime minister, Denis Shmygal, but also with the president, Volodymyr Zelensky,” the leader of the executive said.

During his stay in Kyiv, the prime minister stressed the importance of signing a “concrete agreement for significant financial support in the framework of the Ukrainian government’s requests to us for assistance via the International Monetary Fund (IMF).”

“As is well known, Ukraine has financing needs in the order of five billion euros per month. So these are very large needs and they require an effort from the entire international community. We will make a substantial contribution. I had the opportunity to convey this to my colleague,” he said.

Asked about the process of reopening the Portuguese embassy in Ukraine, António Costa said that there is already an agreed date, but that he does not disclose publicly “because it should only be communicated at the appropriate time.

“I want to stress here that the Portuguese embassy in Kyiv never closed. The Portuguese ambassador has retreated to Poland and will return to Kyiv,” the executive leader maintained, before praising the Ukrainian staff at the Portuguese embassy.

“They remained in office to ensure the functioning of the embassy in the possible conditions. The government will propose to the President of Portugal the award for exceptional bravery and courage of one of the officials who stood out especially in supporting the rescue of Portuguese and Ukrainian citizens with relations with Portugal,” the prime minister said.

Regarding the process of Ukraine’s accession to the European Union, the prime minister reiterated his position that these processes “have their own procedure and are extremely lengthy and uncertain”.

“Portugal welcomes Ukraine’s European option, we look forward to the European Commission’s presentation and, depending on that, we will give our opinion. But I conveyed to the Ukrainian prime minister once again that, regardless of this process, which is always long, the European Union cannot afford to waste time on the urgent matter of responding to the current emergency”, he said.

At this point, the leader of the executive stressed his view that one should not be distracted by medium-term objectives, “when there are urgent responses that have to be given now”.

For António Costa, “it is urgent to strengthen the conditions for immediate support to Ukraine so that this country may satisfy its military, financial and humanitarian equipment needs”.

“I had the opportunity to inform the response that Portugal will give already this Thursday at the donors’ conference. I signalled what will be our contribution under the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to support Ukraine,” he added.