EU Commission Chief Ursula von der Leyen has presented plans for an emergency aid package for Ukraine as fears mount over the buildup of Russian forces at its border.

An estimated 100,000 Russian troops are within reach of the Ukrainian border, while Moscow waits for written responses from Washington and NATO to its security demands.
An estimated 100,000 Russian troops are within reach of the Ukrainian border, while Moscow waits for written responses from Washington and NATO to its security demands. (AP)

The European Union aims to help Ukraine with a $1.36 billion financial aid package to mitigate the effects of the conflict with Russia, which has amassed troops and heavy weapons on Ukraine's border.

EU Commission Chief Ursula von der Leyen said on Monday the financial aid package is meant to "help Ukraine now to address its rapid escalation in financing needs due to the conflict".

"The Commission proposes a new emergency macro-financial assistance package of 1.2 billion euros ($1.36 billion)," von der Leyen said in Brussels , adding the package would be made up of both emergency loans and grants.

Von der Leyen, who spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Friday, urged EU member states and the European Parliament to approve the assistance "as soon as possible".

She also called on international partners such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to follow the same approach and renew their engagement with Ukraine.

The European Commission itself would almost double its bilateral assistance in grants to Kiev this year, adding another $135 million on top of the $180 million already planned, she said.

READ MORE: NATO deploys ships, jets to eastern Europe in Ukraine crisis

'Unprecedented unity'

EU foreign ministers on Monday condemned Russia’s “continued aggressive actions and threats” against Ukraine and called for de-escalation and respect of international law.


In a joint statement adopted at their meeting in Brussels, the bloc’s top diplomats said European security is “indivisible.”

“Any challenge to the European security order affects the security of the EU and its Member States,” the statement said.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said "all members of the European Union are united. We are showing unprecedented unity about the situation in Ukraine, with the strong coordination with the US."

Asked whether the EU would follow a US move and order the families of European embassy personnel in Ukraine to leave, Borrell said: “We are not going to do the same thing.” 

An estimated 100,000 Russian troops are within reach of the Ukrainian border while Moscow waits for written responses from Washington and NATO to its security demands.

Russia wants NATO to withdraw its promise that Ukraine can one day join the alliance, and to pull back troops and weaponry from former Communist countries in eastern Europe that joined it after the Cold War.

Since 2014, when Russia annexed the Ukrainian peninsula Crimea, the EU and European financial institutions have allocated almost $20 billion in grants and loans to the country, according to von der Leyen.

READ MORE: Why the West and Russia are at an impasse over Ukraine

Source: TRTWorld and agencies