The Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelenskyy has admitted that he fears that the aftermath of the Israel-Hamas war and U.S politics, could threaten military support for his country.
This came as he visited Brussels where NATO Defence Ministers met earlier on Wednesday, October 11, 2023.
Speaking to reporters at the Belgian parliament, Zelenskyy said, “I want to be honest with you, of course it is a dangerous situation for people in Ukraine.”
“If there are other tragedies in the world, there is only a certain amount of military support to share, and Russia hopes that support will be divided.
“There will be challenges with the American elections, and I talked to our partners and they said the support will stay, but who can tell that the support will stay, nobody knows.”Volodymyr Zelenskyy
Prior to this, Zelenskyy met with Prime Minister of Belgium, Alexander De Croo.
In a joint press conference with the Belgian Prime Minister after their meeting, Zelenskyy thanked Belgians, the government and personally to Alexander De Croo for the security, political, humanitarian and economic assistance provided to Ukraine.
Zelenskyy disclosed that during the meeting, they discussed political, economic and defense cooperation.
He also lauded Belgium’s decision to provide Ukraine with F-16 fighters, adding, “In 2025, the aircraft will be delivered from Belgium.”
Additionally, Zelenskyy emphasized that Belgium supports Ukraine’s integration into the EU and NATO, as well as the implementation of the Ukrainian Peace Formula.
The two leaders also discussed the work on freezing Russian assets and the possibility of using them now to compensate for the damage caused to Ukraine by the aggression.
De Croo announced that Belgium was establishing a €1.7 billion Ukrainian fund. According to him, the source of the Ukrainian fund will be Russian assets frozen in Belgium.
Income tax revenues from these assets will be used to help Ukraine and its citizens.
Moreover, it was revealed that Zelenskyy and De Croo discussed the preparation of a new package of sanctions against Russia and the prevention of circumvention of the restrictions already imposed.
“Today we talked about the introduction by Belgium of a certification procedure that would prevent diamonds coming from Russia from entering the world markets bypassing sanctions. Mr. Prime Minister, I am grateful to you for this decision and for all the support provided.”Volodymyr Zelenskyy
Russian Diamond Ban To Be Enforced Next Year
On his part, De Croo disclosed that the ban on “blood diamonds” is expected to come into force on January 1, 2024.
An estimated 90% of the world’s diamonds pass through the port city of Antwerp so Belgian support for the ban is essential.
The government has faced industry pressure not to support the embargo on diamonds from Russia, with warnings from producers that any sanctions would just divert the valuable trade from Antwerp to Dubai.
De Croo remarked, “As you know Belgium plays an important role in the diamond trade. And what you want is to cut off Russian dominance completely from our retail markets.”
“If you only do it on the wholesale markets, then it will be traded to other diamond centers in the world and we will still have it in our shops, and it would make no difference for Russia.
“This full traceability and this full banning on the retail markets is the only way to make sure that Russia is not financing the war anymore with those diamonds.”Alexander De Croo
“We are doing [this] together with the EU and the G7 and we are very close to finalising such a full traceability system,” he added.
Efforts to prevent the diamond supply have been difficult due to Russia’s ability to circumvent sanctions.
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