VERSAILLES: The European Union is proposing to double funding of military aid to Ukraine by an additional 500 million euros to help Kiev forces fighting Russia’s invasion, the bloc’s foreign policy chief said on Friday.
Josep Borrell said he was “sure” EU leaders meeting in France would agree to expand the spending package that has seen the bloc finance weapons for Ukraine.
Last month, the EU broke a long-standing taboo by agreeing to pay for arms deliveries to Ukraine after Russian President Vladimir Putin launched an invasion of his pro-Western neighbor.
The move was part of a broad push by Ukraine’s allies to send weapons in the face of desperate pleas from Kiev for more support to help combat advancing Kremlin forces.
Officials said the new tranche of money would go towards reimbursing EU nations that unilaterally sent the weapons requested by Kiev.
Ukraine has been pressing allies to supply air defense systems to help prevent Russian bombing after the West rejected calls to impose a no-fly zone.
EU leaders described Moscow’s attack on Ukraine as a wake-up call for the 27-nation bloc to focus more on bolstering its own defenses.
They were expected to commit to “substantially increasing defense spending” and stepping up cooperation on defense projects among member states at talks near Paris.
“We must resolutely invest more and better in defense capabilities and innovative technologies,” said a preliminary version of the summit’s final declaration seen by AFP.
Collective security in the European Union is primarily handled by the US-led NATO alliance, but France, the EU’s biggest military power, has been leading calls for a bigger role for the bloc.