EU foreign policy chief thanks Poland for hub role in Ukraine crisis


Josep Borrell, the European Union's foreign affairs and security policy chief, has thanked Poland for its readiness to take the role of a logistic hub for EU support transports to Ukraine.

Borrell was speaking at a press conference after a meeting of EU foreign ministers on Sunday evening.

"I want to thank Poland who has offered to serve as logistics hub for the transfer of this material assistance to Ukraine," Borrell said.

On Sunday, the EU also decided to exclude select Russian banks from the international bank payment system Swift and to freeze half of Russia's central bank's assets.

"These measures will effectively cripple Russian financial markets," Borrell said.

A number of European countries, including Poland, have advocated for launching the Swift ban, considered the toughest possible economic sanction, from the onset of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on Thursday.

Italy, Germany, Hungary and Cyprus first opposed the move fearing disruption of business in their countries, but mounting pressure from other governments and societies appalled by the destruction and increasing civilian casualties forced them to change their policy.

The EU has also blocked access to EU skies and airports to Russian airlines and private jets. A number of other countries in Europe and across the world introduced similar restrictions.

Additionally, the EU has made an unprecedented decision to send military aid to Ukraine apart from humanitarian supplies.

"We have decided to use our capacities to provide arms, lethal arms, lethal assistance to the Ukrainian army by the value of 450 million (euros) in support package and 50 more million (euros) for non-lethal supplies," Borrell said.

The latest restrictions will also hit Russian oligarchs who were not targeted in previous round of sanctions.

Russia attacked Ukraine from three directions on Thursday but the Kremlin's plans of a fast-tracked conquest and replacement of the Ukrainian government with a puppet regime loyal to Moscow has failed so far as Russian forces met with fierce Ukrainian resistance.