New military aid for Ukraine
The federal government has granted a new package of military aid to Ukraine. We also continue to provide humanitarian support to the Ukrainian people, announced Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, alongside the ministers of Defence, Foreign Affairs and Development Cooperation.
Our country has been making efforts to assist Ukraine from day one. We were one of the first countries to provide military support Ukraine, in the form weapons, at a time when many other countries were still in doubt.
Our country has provided a total of 146 million EUR in military support since the beginning of the war. This ranges from fuel and ammunition and mobile laboratories to anti-aircraft guns. Today, the Council of Ministers has decided to add a new package of 90 million in military aid, making it the largest Belgian military support package to date.
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But the war today is not only waged on the battlefield. Russia's so-called "special military operation" is not only a war. In spite of all the provisions of the law of war, Russians are also directly attacking the Ukrainian population. In the latest series of rocket attacks on cities, a lot of people have been injured and civilians were killed as recently as yesterday. It are clear violations of the rules of war and Russia will one day be held accountable.
In the meantime, it is important that we continue to support Ukraine and the Ukrainian people, including civilians through humanitarian support, comprising ambulances, medical kits, tents and generators.
The total civilian aid package to date amounts to €86 million, of which €69 million is granted as humanitarian aid, with a further €10.6 million in recovery and reconstruction and a €6.4 million package for human rights and the fight against impunity.
Blocking Russian assets
Belgium is also playing its role in blocking Russian assets. A total value of 191 billion EUR in Russian financial transactions and 58 billion EUR in assets have already been blocked.
That is by far the largest amount of any European country and the largest asset freeze per capita in the world. We are looking into the possibility of using these funds for reconstruction efforts in Ukraine.
Broad approach to revenues from the diamond trade
Belgium also wants to substantially limit the financial flows to Russia with regard to diamonds trade. Only applying European sanctions would not be successful.
We are already seeing a shift to move outside Europe, and it these sanctions are not hurting the Russian war machine in any way. We must therefore take the next step. That is why, in recent months, Belgium, together with the European Commission, has been working with partners outside the European Union to come to a broader approach to actually reduce Russian revenues from the diamond trade.
As of 1 February 2023, the Belgian government has committed 331.951.665,83 euro in military and humanitarian support to Ukraine, which amounts to 0,065% of GDP.
328.656.665,81 euro has been committed by the federal government; 3.295.000 euro had been committed by regional and local authorities.
Of the total amount, 240.507.808,57 euro is military equipment and heavy fuel. An overview is annexed. We prefer not to make public too much detail on our military support, in order not to inform Russia.
The remaining amount of 91.443.857,26 euro is humanitarian and medical support. Of that amount, 48.850.000 euro has gone to various multilateral humanitarian organizations; 10.000.000 euro to IOM and 5.000.000 to the IMF Administered Account for Ukraine. Detailed information is annexed (in French).
Furthermore, Belgium has blocked Russian financial transactions for a total value of 191 billion euro and has frozen 58 billion euro in assets. This is by far the largest amount of all EU Member States and the biggest per capita asset freeze in the world. We are looking into the possibility of using these funds for reconstruction efforts in Ukraine.
Finally, federal, regional, and local authorities have spent 158.503.883 euro so far 65.345 Ukrainians who have sought temporary protection in Belgium.