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EU to OK more money for Ukraine weapons, soldier training

by Jack McKeefe

The EU is eyeing €500 million in new money for a reimbursement scheme and set to approve its first joint training mission.

The EU plans to step up its military support for Ukraine with an extra €500 million to reimburse members’ arms donations and a new initiative to train 15,000 Ukrainian soldiers on EU soil, according to several diplomats.

The move is expected to be finalized on Monday when EU foreign affairs ministers gather in Luxembourg.

The additional weapons funding would bring the EU’s total to €3.1 billion since the start of Russia’s war in Ukraine — all sourced from the “European Peace Facility,” a fund that operates outside the EU’s normal budget, which is prohibited from paying for such military endeavors.

The fund has been used to pay back EU countries that ship weapons to Ukraine — a first for the EU. But it has also been inundated by reimbursement requests that have far outstripped the money authorized for the effort, meaning that more recently the EU could only cover half of the costs.

The training mission would represent another first for the EU — previously, only individual EU countries had offered training for Kyiv’s military. The joint EU mission will last for two years, according to a senior EU official.

Discussions about the EU training mission have been ongoing for months, stretching back to even before the war started, when the EU was weighing a slightly different training endeavor. But numerous countries remained wary, fearing the initiative may trigger an escalation with Russia.

The agreement expected to be finalized Monday comes after a lengthy discussion about issues such as transferring Ukrainian soldiers across EU territory to train in countries like Poland and Germany. Final details will likely be hashed out in the coming weeks once foreign ministers give the green light.

Several diplomats said the headquarters for the training mission will be in Brussels, but other outposts will be in Germany and Poland. The Polish site is expected to train the majority of Kyiv’s soldiers, about 12,000. Meanwhile, Germany will focus on providing specialized training to 3,000 Ukrainian troops. But the numbers could change depending on the Ukrainian needs, diplomats said.

Barring further complications, the training could begin in a month.

According to some diplomats, the EU is also discussing whether to include the U.K. in its training mission. The U.K. has been training Ukrainian troops on its own since early in the war, with a program that aims to support 10,000 new soldiers within a year.  

Source: Politico

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