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Prime Minister Orpo stresses need for urgent military support to Ukraine and calls for restraint in the Middle East

Prime Minister's Office
Publication date 18.4.2024 1.35
Press release
On photo Prime Minister Petteri Orpo and Prime Minister of Denmark Mette Frederiksen
Photo: EU Council

In the evening on Wednesday 17 April, the special European Council discussed the security situation in Europe and the Middle East. The European Union condemned Russia’s attacks on Ukraine and called for swift military assistance. Ukraine is in urgent need of support, especially when it comes to air defence. The EU leaders also expressed their concern over the tense situation in the Middle East and called on all parties to avoid the use of force. Prime Minister Petteri Orpo represented Finland at the meeting.

The European Council exchanged views with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy via video connection. The EU heads of state and government reiterated their continued support for Ukraine. The EU strongly condemned Russia’s ramping up of air strikes on civilian targets and critical infrastructure such as power plants.

“Ukraine cannot afford to wait for compromises. Ukraine urgently needs more assistance. The EU must be prepared to do more. We must work to strengthen Ukraine’s air defence and speed up the delivery of ammunition. We do not want Kharkiv to be the next Mariupol,” says Prime Minister Orpo.

The EU condemned Iran’s attacks on Israel and announced that it would step up its restrictive measures against Iran. The Union called on all parties to refrain from taking any action that could lead to further tension in the Middle East.

Prime Minister Orpo noted that the situation in Southern Lebanon remains tense as well. “A ceasefire in Gaza would promote stability throughout the Middle East, including in Southern Lebanon,” says Prime Minister Orpo.

The EU leaders held a strategic debate on relations between the EU and Türkiye based on a report by the Commission on the state of play of political, economic and trade relations. The Council further instructed the Member States to advance their work on areas of cooperation.

In Prime Minister Orpo’s view, developing EU-Türkiye relations would benefit both parties while promoting security throughout the eastern Mediterranean region. 

“The EU and Türkiye must be able to engage in dialogue in areas where they share common goals. These include migration, energy and climate issues,” says Prime Minister Orpo.

The special European Council in Brussels will continue on Thursday. Items on the agenda include the EU’s competitiveness, which the leaders will discuss in light of an independent report presented by former Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta.

Inquiries: Jori Arvonen, State Under-Secretary for EU Affairs, tel. +358 295 16001, Tuomas Tikkanen, Special Adviser (EU Affairs), tel. +358 40 523 5768 and Marko Ruonala, Project Manager (Communications), tel. +358 50 522 8233, Prime Minister’s Office.