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HomeEuropeEU Draws Up Plans for $22bn Ukraine Weapons Fund

EU Draws Up Plans for $22bn Ukraine Weapons Fund

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The European Union is drawing up plans for a 20-billion-euro ($22bn) fund to provide Ukraine with weapons, ammunition and military aid as it fights Russia’s invasion, officials have said.

Josep Borrell, the bloc’s foreign policy chief, outlined the four-year proposal to EU foreign ministers meeting in Brussels on Thursday.

Following the meeting, Borrell said the EU would “transform existing support into a long-term commitment” to Ukraine’s security and resilience.

“We propose the creation of a dedicated section on the European peace facility to provide up to five billion euros a year for the next four years for the defence needs of Ukraine,” he said.

“This is the evaluation of the needs and the costs of our long-term security commitments to Ukraine,” Borrell told reporters.

The proposal came amid an international drive to give Ukraine long-term security assurances, as announced by members of the G7 group on the sidelines of last week’s NATO summit in Lithuania’s capital, Vilnius.

At that summit, NATO leaders said Ukraine should be able to join the military alliance in the future but stopped short of offering it an immediate invitation – an outcome that was not what Ukrainian officials had hoped for.

“Ukraine’s future is in NATO,” they said in a declaration but offered no timeline for the process.

Mindful of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s disappointment over his hopes for a membership timetable, Western officials stressed that there would be a broader package of support proposals designed to give Ukraine a military edge over Russian forces.

EU foreign ministers were shown the fund plan at Thursday’s foreign affairs council, but a more detailed debate will take place on August 31 at their meeting in the Spanish city of Toledo.

Some member states, notably Hungary, may oppose the idea, and final political approval is not expected until European leaders meet at EU summits in October or even December.

The European Peace Facility (EPF), created in 2021, is meant to finance actions that prevent conflicts, build peace and strengthen international security. It was initially worth $6.3bn, but has since grown to $13.4bn.

The facility is used to reimburse EU countries for at least part of the cost of weapons, ammunition and other military aid that they give to nations outside the bloc.

Hungary is still holding up the disbursement of $556m in current EPF funds for Ukraine aid, demanding that Hungarian bank OTP first be removed from a Ukrainian blacklist.

Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said Budapest would take the same stance with the new proposal.

“Neither for the 500 million blocked so far, nor for the 20 billion now proposed, are we willing to engage in any kind of negotiations as long as OTP is on this list,” he told reporters.

Source : Aljazeera

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