BRUSSELS, BELGIUM — Ukraine's foreign minister asked the European Union on Monday for hundreds of millions of euros in loans and aid for infrastructure and businesses in its troubled east and south, regions he said Russia was trying to "suffocate."
EU foreign ministers were discussing increasing support for Ukraine, which holds a presidential election next month in tough conditions. Russia annexed its Crimea peninsula in 2014 and backs armed separatists in its eastern industrial Donbas region.
The EU is also moving to put more Russians under sanctions over Moscow's standoff with Kiev in the Azov Sea, to the southeast of Ukraine.
"We need targeted... support for the Ukrainian south, to work with us on infrastructure... Further Russian attempts to destabilize Ukraine's south would be very detrimental for European security," Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin told reporters in Brussels.
"[There is] an attempt to suffocate the whole Ukrainian Donbas... We need infrastructure, it's about roads and railways. And to support people... help them to launch new small and medium businesses because we need to fundamentally reshuffle the whole economic model there," he added.
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