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EU mulls military fund for Ukraine with $5.5B yearly budget

Published August 30,2023
The EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell looks on at a press conference during the informal EU ministerial meeting on defence in Toledo, Spain August 30, 2023. (REUTERS Photo)

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell proposed on Wednesday setting up a military assistance fund for Ukraine with a yearly budget of €5 billion ($5.5 billion).

Borrell spoke to reporters after the informal reunion of EU defense ministers in Toledo, Spain, hosted by the Spanish government that assumed the rotating presidency of the Council of the EU on July 1.

He stressed the need to continue supporting Ukraine's counteroffensive against Russian aggression as President Vladimir "Putin doesn't show any sign of letting up" the war.

Borrell said that he had proposed a military assistance fund to supply equipment for Ukraine.

Under the plan, the EU would dedicate each year €5 billion to help the Ukrainian army between 2024-27.

Borrell said he expects EU capitals to give the green light for the Ukraine relief fund before the end of this year.

He also suggested that the EU defense ministers raise the objective of the bloc's military mission in Ukraine, enabling to train 40,000 Ukrainian soldiers instead of the current target of 30,000.

Borrell called Russia's decision on quitting the Black Sea grain deal "a very bad news," and projected "destabilizing effects around the world" and they "will unhappily also affect us."

He said the EU will keep on providing "the means and ways for the Ukrainian food production to be exported from the country and to reach international markets."

The EU defense ministers also discussed the situation in Africa's Sahel region.

According to Borrell, the military coup in Niger opens a "new era of instability in a region which is already very fragile."

He reassured that the EU will support the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) depending on their request.

The EU has also started work on an "autonomous sanctions regime" towards the military administration in Niger, he added.

On the second day of the event on Thursday, EU foreign ministers will continue the discussions on the bloc's response to the developments in Africa and Ukraine.