Ukraine's Zelensky says withholding of $8.18 billion from EU is 'crime or mistake'

Ukraine's Zelensky says withholding of $8.18 billion from EU is 'crime or mistake'

The Ukrainian leader says withholding €8 billion in financial aid is either a crime or mistake by Brussels.

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky has lashed out at the EU, accusing it of deliberately withholding €8 billion $8.18 billion in aid promised to his country amid the conflict with Russia.

In a video address on Telegram on Thursday, Zelensky reminded some EU leaders that Ukrainian pensioners, our displaced persons, our teachers and other people shouldn't be hostages of their indecision or bureaucracy.

He said that the EU suspended the allocation of €8 billion, and that this artificial delay in macro-financial aid for our country is either a crime or a mistake.

The president did not name the nations responsible for withholding the money, but expressed hope that it s only a mistake and that it will be corrected. Earlier this week, the deputy head of Zelensky's office, Igor Zhovkva, said Ukraine has received just €1 billion from Brussels, while some EU countries, including Germany, are blocking the transfer of another €8 billion.

The EU promised in May to provide Ukraine with €9 billion of subsidies and low-interest loans by the end of 2022, as Kiev unable to patch the holes in its budget due to the fighting and the dire economic situation.

Russia sent troops into Ukraine on February 24, citing Kiev's failure to implement the Minsk agreements, designed to give the regions of Donetsk and Lugansk special status within the Ukrainian state. The protocols, brokered by France and Germany, were first signed in 2014. Former Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko has admitted that Kiev's main goal was to use the ceasefire to buy time and create powerful armed forces. In February 2022, the Kremlin recognized the Donbass republics as independent states and demanded that Ukraine declare itself a neutral country that will never join any Western military bloc. Kiev insists that the Russian offensive was unprovoked.