In Brussels, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy met with Prime Minister of Belgium Alexander De Croo.
The Head of State expressed gratitude to the Belgians, the government and personally to Alexander De Croo for the security, political, humanitarian and economic assistance provided to our country for protection against Russian terror.
During the meeting, the parties discussed political, economic and defense cooperation.
"I thank Belgium for joining the coalition of fighter jets and involving Belgian specialists in training Ukrainian pilots and technical staff. It is very important that today we have Belgium's decision to provide Ukraine with F-16 fighters. In 2025, the aircraft will be delivered from Belgium," the President of Ukraine said during a joint meeting with Alexander De Croo with media representatives following the negotiations in Brussels.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy noted that, together with the decision of Denmark, the Netherlands and Norway, this ensures the sustainability of aircraft supplies to Ukraine.
At the same time, as the President emphasized, the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine and the General Staff need to work to ensure that Ukraine can receive the first aircraft from other partners as early as next year, in 2024.
In addition, the Head of State informed that Belgium had joined the recently established IT coalition. This will allow us to more effectively counter Russian threats, especially in cyberspace, and enhance the interaction of Ukrainian units on the battlefield.
Belgium has also joined the common efforts to implement the Peace Formula and is working on the implementation of several of its points, Volodymyr Zelenskyy noted.
The Head of State also emphasized that Belgium supports Ukraine's integration into the EU and NATO.
"Today, judging from the content of our work here with all partners, from the mood of our partners, we can obviously say that everyone feels that Ukraine will one day be a full member of both the European Union and the NATO security alliance. We are working actively to bring this time closer," the President said.
The parties also discussed the work on freezing Russian assets and the possibility of using them now to compensate for the damage caused to Ukraine by the aggression.
"It is important that Belgium has become the first country to launch such a practice of using frozen Russian assets for protection against Russian terror. The funds will be used for security assistance to our country and for fast recovery projects. We would really like to be able to use the funds right now. And the first 1.7 billion euros will be used as early as next year," the Head of State said.
The parties discussed the preparation of a new package of sanctions against Russia and the prevention of circumvention of the restrictions already imposed.
"Today we talked about the introduction by Belgium of a certification procedure that would prevent diamonds coming from Russia from entering the world markets bypassing sanctions. Mr. Prime Minister, I am grateful to you for this decision and for all the support provided," Volodymyr Zelenskyy said.
Alexander De Croo, for his part, said that Belgium would support Ukraine in three ways: providing military assistance, imposing effective economic sanctions, and establishing a €1.7 billion Ukrainian fund. According to him, the source of the Ukrainian fund will be Russian assets frozen in Belgium. Income tax revenues from these assets will be used to help Ukraine and its citizens.
The Prime Minister confirmed that Belgium is ready to train Ukrainian pilots and technical staff, as well as provide maintenance for the aircraft that Ukraine will receive in 2025.