On Monday, the European Union’s foreign ministers agreed to provide an additional EUR500m ($504m) of EU funding for Ukraine. Since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2017, the EU’s total security support has risen to EUR2.5 billion.
Ann Linde, Sweden’s Foreign Minister, stated that a political agreement regarding the fifth tranche of military assistance to Ukraine was reached today at the meeting of EU foreign ministers.
The EU will continue to buy equipment and supplies for Ukraine’s army, including lethal weapons. It has said that the money should be used for defense.
EU rules generally prevent the bloc from using its budget for seven years to fund military operations. The so-called European Peace Facility, which has a limit of EUR5bn, can be used to provide military aid.
Officials from the EU described this historic moment as the approval of the first tranches by the EU immediately following Russia’s invasion.
After only five months, Ukraine had already received half the 7-year facility. It is unclear how the EU will finance the purchase and delivery of weapons and equipment.
Josep Borrell, EU’s top diplomat stated that war would likely continue. To show Ukraine that the EU isn’t giving up, he said that he expected EU Ambassadors to approve a new EU ban against Russian gold imports later in this week.
“I’m certain (Russian President Vladimir Putin), Putin is counting on the democratic fatigue.” Borrell stated that European societies cannot afford to be fatigued.
Gabrielius Landsbergis (Lithuania’s foreign minister) also demanded that Europeans maintain their course. According to Landsbergis, while parliaments and governments are on summer recess this season, Russian troops “have not planned to attack Ukraine in the free days”.
The unprecedented Western sanctions against Russia include an oil embargo, a ban on transactions with Russia’s central bank, and the freezing of assets and the stopping of new Russian investments.
Putin has however reiterated his determination to continue “special military operations in Ukraine” despite the destruction of many Ukrainian cities and the death of many.
($1 = EUR0.9914)
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