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13 Mar, 2024 22:39

EU approves more money for Ukraine aid fund

The bloc’s members have agreed to add €5 billion to a fund that reimburses nations for assisting Kiev
EU approves more money for Ukraine aid fund

EU nations have approved €5 billion ($5.5 billion) in additional funding for Ukraine. Members of the bloc agreed on Wednesday to put more money into the European Peace Facility (EPF) fund, which reimburses countries that send weapons to Kiev.

The initiative finally passed a vote in Brussels after months of negotiations over contentious issues, such as France’s demand that arms for Ukraine be bought in Europe and Germany’s insistence that members’ direct donations to Kiev be taken into account when calculating their EPF obligations.

“The message is clear,” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said after Wednesday’s vote. “We will support Ukraine with whatever it takes to prevail.”

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba also celebrated the vote, saying it was “yet another powerful and timely demonstration of European unity in achieving our common victory.”

The EPF has already underpinned over €6 billion in Ukraine aid. EU ambassadors reached a compromise on the “buy European” mandate by allowing for exceptions to the rule when weaponry can’t be obtained on the continent quickly enough to meet Ukraine’s needs. This would presumably allow donors to be reimbursed under a Czech-led initiative to buy artillery shells outside of Europe.

The initiative comes at a time when Washington, the biggest funder of the Ukraine conflict, has run out of money for Kiev and is struggling to get additional spending approved by lawmakers. Republicans in the US House of Representatives have opposed President Joe Biden’s request for over $60 billion in additional Ukraine funding, saying his administration is only prolonging the fighting without offering a blueprint for peace.

There has also been increasing controversy over Ukraine aid within the EU. The bloc approved a long-delayed €50 billion funding package for Kiev last month, after Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban dropped his veto threat due to threats of economic retribution from other EU heads of state. Orban has argued that Ukraine can’t defeat Russian forces and that EU sanctions have caused more harm to the bloc’s members than to Moscow.