Taiwan tells Kyiv mayor they both on 'frontline' resisting authoritarianism, offers aid

·2 min read
FILE PHOTO: Taiwan's Foreign Minister Joseph Wu attends a news conference in Taipei

TAIPEI (Reuters) - Taiwan's foreign minister told the mayor of Ukraine's capital on Friday their democracies stood on "the frontline of resisting" large authoritarian neighbours as he announced a donation of $8 million to Kyiv and Ukrainian medical institutions.

The war in Ukraine has garnered broad sympathy in Taiwan, with many seeing parallels between Russia's invasion - which Moscow terms a "special military operation" - and military pressure from China, which views the democratically governed island as its own territory.

Taiwan has condemned Russia's invasion, joined Western-led sanctions and donated $20 million for Ukrainian refugees, mostly raised from the public. China has not condemned Russia, and only donated 15 million yuan ($2.3 million) in humanitarian aid.

Speaking by video conference to Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko, Foreign Minister Joseph Wu said Taiwan and Ukraine were both democracies "on the front line of resisting the expansion of authoritarianism", Wu's ministry cited him as saying.

"The Taiwanese government and people also face a high threat from the authoritarian regime across the Taiwan Strait, and therefore feel the current situation faced by Ukraine as though it is happening to ourselves," Wu added, referring to China.

Taiwan has not previously announced talks between senior Taiwanese and Ukrainian officials.

Taiwan has no diplomatic relations with Ukraine, and unlike in many European capitals Taiwan does not even have a representative office in Kyiv.

Wu said Taiwan would donate $3 million to Kyiv city and $5 million to six Ukrainian medical institutions.

He also tweeted a picture of himself talking to Klitschko, a former champion boxer, saying the mayor's "fighting spirit" was admirable.

"Champ, we'll continue to stand with you & your people. Freedom will prevail!" Wu added.

($1 = 6.5014 Chinese yuan renminbi)

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Gareth Jones)

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