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EU agrees to €5 billion boost in Ukraine military aid

March 13, 2024

EU member states have struck a deal to jointly provide Ukraine with an additional €5 billion in military aid. Kyiv has said the move was a "powerful and timely demonstration of European unity."

Ukrainian soldiers unload explosive charges in the direction of Bakhmut as Russia-Ukraine war continues
Ukraine has faced shortages of weapons and ammunition Image: Jose Colon/Anadolu/picture alliance

European Union member states agreed Wednesday to provide Ukraine with an additional  €5 billion ($5.5 billion) in military aid.

Belgium, which holds the EU's rotating presidency, said ambassadors from the bloc's 27 nations had agreed "in principle" on the plan to support arms supplies to Kyiv in 2024. 

The contribution of €5 billion will go on EU-managed fund called the European Peace Facility. The fund operates as a giant cashback scheme, giving EU members refunds for sending munitions to other countries.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba called it a "powerful and timely demonstration of European unity."

Compromise after months of wrangling 

The EU has already committed €6.1 billion from the fund to reimburse part of the cost of arms sent by member states to Ukraine since the Russian invasion

The decision to boost the fund was delayed for months amid wrangling between states over how it should operate.

Germany demanded offsetting bilateral support for Ukraine against its contribution, while France demanded only weapons produced in Europe should be reimbursed.

Diplomats have reached a compromise that allows for some flexibility on "buy European" rules and considers bilateral aid value in calculating financial contributions of members.

"The message is clear: we will support Ukraine with whatever it takes to prevail," EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell wroted on X, formerly Twitter.  

In February, EU member states signed off on a €50 billion ($54 billion) non-military aid package to support Ukraine's economy through 2027. The funds consist of grants and loans financed from the EU budget

EU plans to increase ammunition supplies to Ukraine

The boost in military funding from Europe comes as $60 billion in military aid from the United States is being blocked by Congressional deadlock. 

The EU decision on Wednesday comes a day after the White House announced a fresh $300 million weapons package for Ukraine as a stopgap measure on Tuesday.

Some of the money in the European Peace Facility will be used to help finance a Czech initiative to buy hundreds of thousands of desperately needed artillery shells from countries outside Europe.

How much aid has Ukraine received from the EU?

lo/wmr (AFP, dpa, Reuters)