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European Union defends Ukraine support after Trump call row

File Photo. Photograph:( Reuters )

AFP Brussels, Belgium Sep 26, 2019, 07.43 PM (IST)

The EU on Thursday defended the "unprecedented" support it has given to Ukraine after it emerged US President Donald Trump and his Ukrainian counterpart had attacked the bloc for not doing enough.

A spokesman for the European Commission, said the bloc had given Ukraine more than 15 billion euros in grants and loans since 2014, when Russia annexed Crimea, calling it "the largest support package in the history of the EU."

The comments came after the White House released details of a July phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, in which the US leader said Europe should do more to help Kiev.

Zelensky, who came to power in May, said he agreed "1,000 percent" and claimed the US was "a much bigger partner" for his country than the EU.

Commission spokesman Carlos Martin Ruiz De Gordejuela said the EU was a "staunch supporter" of Ukraine and its efforts to reform.

"It is important to say that the European Union's support to Ukraine is unprecedented. In these five years we have put together for Ukraine the largest support package in the history of the European Union," he told a daily briefing.

"On military and security support in Ukraine, we fully and resolutely support Ukraine's territorial integrity, independence, and sovereignty."

As well as financial and technical support, the EU has also backed Ukraine with a raft of sanctions linked to Moscow's annexation of Crimea and the continuing conflict against pro-Kremlin rebels in the country's east.

Story highlights

A spokesman for the European Commission, said the bloc had given Ukraine more than 15 billion euros in grants and loans since 2014, when Russia annexed Crimea, calling it "the largest support package in the history of the EU."