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Backing Kyiv key to thwart pro-Russian populist forces in EU, says Romania’s PM

Romania’s PM emphasizes unwavering support for Ukraine to prevent populist forces’ rise with Putin-like leaders emerging in Europe. He underlines the importance of backing Kyiv despite political risks.
Romanian PM Marcel Ciolacu at the PES EU Council preparation meeting, Brussels, 23 June 2022. Illustrative photo: Flickr/partyofeuropeansocialists
Backing Kyiv key to thwart pro-Russian populist forces in EU, says Romania’s PM

Romania’s Prime Minister, Marcel Ciolacu, has affirmed his country’s unwavering support for Ukraine, emphasizing the importance of preventing populist leaders resembling Vladimir Putin from gaining ground in Europe. Despite concerns about political costs, Ciolacu asserted that Romania would continue to aid Ukraine, considering the potential consequences of a Russian victory in the region.

In his interview with Bloomberg published on 7 November, 

Marcel Ciolacu said his government would continue offering “multi-dimensional support” for Ukraine, even though European allies exhibit signs of war fatigue. This is especially notable as the Israel-Hamas conflict currently takes precedence over Russia’s invasion, with expectations of its earlier resolution.

“Romania will continue to help Ukraine regardless of the political costs,” Ciolacu said on 6 November. “These political costs are less important than the precedent a Russian victory would create.”

The PM noted rising support for right-wing and populist movements in Europe critical of Ukraine support and influenced by pro-Russian sentiments, as seen in Germany’s Alternative for Germany (AfD) party.

“Can you image how many Putin lookalikes we would get among certain populist European politicians?” Ciolacu asked.

After Russia blocked the Ukrainian Black Sea ports early in its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Romania played an important role in facilitating Ukraine’s grain exports.

Romania’s PM says the country has increased its capacity to handle Ukrainian grain, from half a million to 3 million tons per month, with intentions to further raise it to 4 million tons in the coming months.

Prime Minister Ciolacu reaffirmed Romania’s commitment to Ukraine despite upcoming elections and support shifts in neighboring countries while remaining discreet about the military assistance provided.

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