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28 May, 2024 20:29

EU split over $7-billion weapons delivery to Ukraine – Borrell

The envisaged aid package has been a source of disagreement for months, the bloc’s foreign-policy chief said
EU split over $7-billion weapons delivery to Ukraine – Borrell

There is still no agreement on a $7 billion (€6.6 billion) EU military aid package for Ukraine, the bloc’s foreign-policy chief Josep Borrell has said, according to remarks made to the press that were published on Tuesday.

The remarks follow a meeting this week of EU foreign and defense ministers focusing on the Ukraine conflict.

According to Borrell, there are “seven legal acts to be approved” in order to mobilize the billions in military aid under the Ukrainian Assistance Fund.

“This has not been possible [for] quite a long time because there is not [an] agreement for the consensus needed,” he explained.

“You know that we need unanimity – unanimity [has] not [been] there for months,” he admitted.

According to Politico, diplomats had hoped to have the new package ready ahead of this week’s meetings in Brussels but this didn’t happen due to resistance from Hungary.

Budapest has been a vocal critic of unbridled Western support for Ukraine and has refused to provide any military aid to Kiev, either directly or through the EU. Hungarian officials have repeatedly called for a ceasefire, insisting that EU sanctions against Russia have failed to undermine its economy and have instead boomeranged against the bloc.

Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said on Monday that his government remained committed to blocking the €6.6 billion military aid package, despite the “ruckus” among fellow EU foreign ministers.

According to Borrell, an EU plan to use profits from frozen Russian sovereign assets to buy weapons for Ukraine has also stalled due to resistance from Budapest.

Western nations have seized some $300-billion-worth of Russian assets, most of which are held in the EU. Brussels’ plan, which Borrell strongly supports, would provide some $3.25 billion (€3 billion) for Ukraine this year alone. Moscow has warned that it will retaliate, should its property be “stolen” by the US and its allies.

The EU and its member states have so far mobilized nearly $35 billion in military support for Ukraine, according to data published on the European Commission’s website. This includes over $6.5 billion under the European Peace Facility to support the delivery of military equipment.

In March 2024, the European Council established a dedicated Ukrainian Assistance Fund worth almost $5.5 billion.