European Union to provide USD 5.48 billion for military support to Ukraine

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BRUSSELS: The European Union has agreed to provide five billion euros (USD 5.48 billion) for military support to Ukraine, as part of a revamp of an EU-run assistance fund, reported Al Jazeera.
In a move to extend military support to Ukraine as its forces struggle against Russia’s invasion, the EU stated that it will support Ukraine with whatever it takes to prevail.
European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, “We made it: #Coreper agreed on the #UkraineAssistanceFund. The Fund will allow us to step up our military support to #Ukraine with another EUR5 billion. The message is clear: we will support #Ukraine with whatever it takes to prevail.”

Ambassadors from the EU’s 27 member countries agreed to the overhaul of the European Peace Facility (EPF) fund at a meeting in Brussels on Wednesday after months of wrangling, with EU heavyweights France and Germany at the centre of much of the debate, reported Al Jazeera.
The fund operated as a giant cash-back scheme, giving EU members refunds for sending munitions to other countries.
France, a strong promoter of European defence industries, had insisted on a strong “buy European” policy for arms eligible for refunds.
However, other countries argued that such a requirement would inhibit efforts to buy weapons from worldwide to Ukraine quickly, according to Al Jazeera.
Germany has been by far Europe’s biggest bilateral donor of military aid to Ukraine and has demanded donations be taken into account in determining the size of countries’ financial contributions to the fund.
Diplomats said compromise was eventually reached allowing flexibility on the “buy European” rules and taking into account part of the value of bilateral aid when calculating members’ financial contributions.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said, “This is yet another powerful and timely demonstration of European unity and determination in achieving our common victory.”
“We look forward to the final decision being approved at the next EU Foreign Affairs Council meeting.”
The final text said the scheme should give priority to the European defence industry while “exceptionally allowing for flexibility in cases where it cannot provide within a timeframe compatible with Ukrainian needs”.
The compromise will allow the fund to help finance a Czech initiative to buy hundreds of thousands of desperately needed artillery shells from countries outside Europe, according to diplomats.
“Ukraine needs more arms and equipment, we will provide them in sufficient quantities and in a coordinated manner,” said Hadja Lahbib, the foreign minister of Belgium, the current holder of the EU’s rotating presidency.
“Europe is true to its commitments. Our freedom is at stake.”
The latest announcement by the European Union comes as Kyiv’s forces are under pressure along the front line in the face of ammunition shortages, Al Jazeera reported.
Moreover, earlier on Tuesday, the US announced a new USD 300m weapons package for Ukraine, but a further USD 60 billion in funding remains stalled by Republicans in Congress.
The EU is further pushing to bolster weapons and ammunition production by its defence industry, but two years into the war, it is still struggling to ramp up output, according to Al Jazeera.



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