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EU has given Ukrainian military €27 billion – Borrell

Member states are racing to meet their pledge to supply 1 million artillery shells to Kiev by next year

The European Union has authorized at least €27 billion in direct military assistance to Ukraine since last year, the bloc’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said, touting the aid as the “highest figure ever reached.” 

Speaking to reporters ahead of an EU meeting in Brussels on Monday, Borrell outlined the agenda for the event, stressing that even with renewed violence in the Middle East, member states should not “forget about Ukraine.”

“Our support is increasing. I can tell you that it has reached the level of €27 billion of military support,” he said, adding “It is the highest figure ever reached. We continue training Ukrainian soldiers. We continue being behind Ukraine.”

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While the bloc was set to discuss additional aid to Kiev, some member states have reportedly objected to continued largesse. According to multiple senior diplomats cited by Reuters last week, Germany “has had a lot of questions” about a €20 billion spending plan favored by Borrell, while other countries may be constrained by “the reality of the public finances.”

Slovakia has publicly declared an end to all lethal aid to Ukraine, and France likewise announced that it would scale back arms shipments on Sunday, with Minister of the Armed Forces Sebastien Lecornu stating that Paris would no longer supply weapons from its own stockpiles. Instead, he said Kiev would have to purchase equipment from private companies “using money from a special fund.”

The EU is also seeking to deliver 1 million artillery shells to Ukraine by next March, a goal announced earlier this year. It is struggling to meet that target, however, with Bloomberg reporting it has provided just 30% of the total figure.

In his comments on Monday, Borrell acknowledged that the bloc might “not reach [the target] by the end of the year,” but noted that member states have “gone onto the production [of ammunition],” and that “the lines have started working.”

“It will depend on how quickly the contracts will be implemented and the factories will produce,” he added. “The goal is to increase capacity.”


READ MORE: EU admits it won’t keep Ukraine ammunition promise – media

Ukrainian forces have burned through vast supplies of shells and other military gear amid the conflict with Moscow, with officials in Kiev repeatedly requesting more arms and ammunition from foreign sponsors. Despite the Western aid, however, Ukraine’s summer counteroffensive has lagged on into the fall, with troops struggling to advance beyond heavy Russian fortifications. Moscow’s Defense Ministry has estimated that Kiev has lost more than 90,000 troops, along with over 55 tanks and 1,900 armored vehicles, since its offensive began in June.

 

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