EU proposes $1.35B financial assistance package for Ukraine

Bloc stands up for ‘free, sovereign’ Ukraine, says EU Commission chief.

EU proposes $1.35B financial assistance package for Ukraine

The European Commission proposed on Monday a €1.2 billion ($1.35 billion) financial assistance package for Ukraine.

“The (European) Commission proposes a new emergency macro-financial assistance package of €1.2 billion. This package will help Ukraine now to address its financing needs due to the conflict,” President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen said in a video statement.

If approved by the European Parliament and EU member states, the bloc will immediately disburse half of the amount, she explained.

“Let me be clear once more: Ukraine is a free and sovereign country. It makes its own choices. The EU will continue to stand by its side,” she added.

Last week, von der Leyen warned Russia of “massive economic and financial sanctions” if it attacks Ukraine.

The US, with its European allies, has been warning that Russia is setting the stage for an invasion of Ukraine and has pre-positioned over 100,000 troops on its border with the former Soviet republic alongside significant artillery and tank deployments.

Moscow has denied preparing for a military offensive, saying its troops are there for regular exercises.

NATO began to increase its presence in eastern Europe following Russia's illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014.