EU set to greenlight Ukraine training mission and arms funds
BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union is to give the go-ahead on Monday for a military training mission in Europe for thousands of Ukrainian soldiers and provide about half a billion euros (dollars) in additional funds to help buy weapons for the war-torn country.
“Morally, politically and even militarily, Russia is losing this war. We must therefore continue to support Ukraine,” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell told reporters in Luxembourg, where he was chairing a meeting of foreign ministers from the 27-nation bloc.
Borrell said the EU would set up « a powerful training mission deployed outside Ukraine’s borders ».
The aim is to train some 15,000 Ukrainian soldiers, mainly in Poland and Germany. This will range from standard military training to specialized instruction, depending on Ukraine’s needs. It is hoped that the mission will be operational by mid-November.
Several EU and NATO countries are already training Ukrainian armed forces on a bilateral basis. Asked about the added value the Brussels-based mission would bring, Borrell said he was « strongly convinced that by bringing together the capabilities of European armies, we can deliver a much better product. »
NATO began training military instructors in Ukraine after Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula in 2014. The military alliance believes training instructors is the most effective way to help Ukraine’s armed forces , because it is not necessary for the troops necessary for the fight to leave the country.
At their meeting in Luxembourg, ministers are also expected to approve a sixth tranche of money, worth around 500 million euros (dollars), from the European Peace Facility – a fund used to repay countries members who provide weapons, ammunition and non-lethal military support to Ukraine.
It will bring the total sum of EU security assistance available to Ukraine to just over €3 billion. Individual countries also spend more on top of this. The decisions will come nearly eight months after Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine.
The Associated Press