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Belgium unveils $445 million defense aid packages for Ukraine

by Martin Fornusek March 19, 2024 12:16 PM 2 min read
Iveco LMV Lynx. (Vitaly V. Kuzmin/Wikimedia Commons)
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Belgium has announced defense aid packages for Ukraine worth 412 million euros ($445 million), including 300 Iveco Lynx light tactical vehicles, the Shephard Media reported on March 18.

The first part of the packages will include three minehunter vessels, Belgian Defense Minister Ludivine Dedonder said on March 15, according to the Belga News Agency. Belgium and the Netherlands will reportedly cooperate in providing Ukrainian crews with the necessary training.

The Benelux countries (Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg) will provide Ukraine with armored ambulances, which will be modernized before being sent to Ukraine. The Belgian Defense Ministry also plans a joint purchase of reconnaissance drones and will provide the aforementioned Lynx vehicles, the Belga News Agency wrote.

The largest portion of the newly announced aid will be comprised of artillery shells worth around 373.1 million euros ($404 million), sourced from Belgium's own stocks and through international purchases, according to the news agency.. Artillery rounds are a crucial capability for Ukraine as it faces increasingly critical ammunition shortages due to hold-ups in U.S. aid.

Ukraine's Defense Minister Rustem Umerov said in January that Belgium had pledged 611 million euros ($662 million) in military aid to Ukraine in 2024. The figure is higher than the entire amount Belgium has provided to Ukraine from the beginning of the full-scale war until the end of 2023, which is 496 million euros ($538 million).

According to the Belgian government's website, Belgium has allocated 1.7 billion euros ($1.8 billion) in support for Ukraine through the end of 2025.

Belgium is one of the 11 founding countries in the "fighter jet coalition" established last July that aims to train Ukrainians to operate F-16s and has promised to provide the jets themselves, but no earlier than 2025.

Ukraine war latest: EU gives final approval of $5.5 billion in defense aid to Kyiv
Key developments on March 17-18: * EU gives final approval to $5.5 billion for military aid to Ukraine * Deputy minister: Russia fires 7 times more shells than Ukraine * US Senator Graham in Kyiv: ‘If you want aid to Ukraine, you’d better start talking to American taxpayers’ * Ukrainian governm…
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