The EU on Monday stepped up its military aid to Kyiv by launching a mission to train 15,000 Ukrainian soldiers and providing another 500 million euros in arms.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitro Kuleba addresses a meeting with his EU counterparts via video link from a shelter in Kyiv, urging more air defense over the supply of drones to Russia after strikes hit the city. and urged Iran to impose sanctions.
“While Dmytro Kuleba addresses (to us) from the bunker, we will raise EU military aid to €3.1 billion ($3 billion) and launch an EU military training mission to Ukraine.” , EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell tweeted from a meeting in Luxembourg.
“Russia’s recent indiscriminate attacks do not undermine our resolve to support Ukraine, they only strengthen it.”
After almost eight months of war, the Ukrainian army is making progress on the battlefield, and Western supporters in Kyiv are eager to ensure that its army has the ability to continue fighting.
Several EU countries, including Germany and France, are already training Ukrainians to use the latest artillery systems, missile launchers and air defense systems they have delivered to Kyiv.
However, the EU lags behind in providing large-scale training to support its own forces in confronting Russia’s invading forces.
The US, Canada and the UK are already training thousands of troops.
The European training mission will begin operations next month and is expected to have a budget of around €105 million for the first two years.
Officials said the plan was to provide basic training to 12,000 soldiers and professional guidance to more than 2,800.
– Iranian Drone –
Ukraine’s neighbor Poland will be the main base for the mission, and Germany will also be an important training base.
Programs currently run by individual Member States will continue and may later be incorporated into EU missions.
A new 500 million euro tranche raises the overall contribution to weapons from the EU central coffers to 3 billion euros. Member States are also spending more out of their own pocket.
Mr Kleba tweeted that he was “probably the first foreign minister” to address such an EU conference from an air raid shelter due to the sirens of air raids in Kyiv.
“We asked for more air defense and ammunition supplies. We asked the EU to impose sanctions on Iran for providing drones to Russia,” he wrote.
He also called for a “strong” new package of sanctions to be imposed on Moscow.
EU ministers debated Russia’s alleged use of Iranian-made drones to attack Ukrainian targets, but no punishment was expected yet.
Tehran has rejected accusations of supplying Russia with weapons “to be used in the war in Ukraine.”
Brussels has said it is conducting an investigation into possible violations of UN resolutions and may impose sanctions.
“We are following the use of this drone very closely, gathering evidence, and are ready to respond with the tools at our disposal,” Borrell said.
Dutch Foreign Minister Wobke Hekstra said he thought it was “wise” to impose sanctions.
“But we agreed to further investigate the evidence there and work on that as well,” he said.
The EU, which is now brokering a stalled effort to revive the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, is lagging behind Washington in imposing sanctions on Tehran.
But the bloc agreed to impose sanctions on 15 Iranian officials and organizations over its crackdown on protests over the death of 22-year-old Masa Amini.
https://www.expatica.com/nl/general/eu-launches-training-mission-for-ukraine-troops-360384/ EU launches training mission for Ukrainian forces – Expat Guide to the Netherlands