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EU ambassadors approve $5.5 billion for defense fund for Ukraine in 2024

by Martin Fornusek and The Kyiv Independent news desk March 13, 2024 7:05 PM 2 min read
The EU flag and the Ukrainian flag fly together by the Tower of the British Parliament as part of a pro-EU demonstration in London on Nov. 15, 2023. (Krisztian Elek/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
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EU ambassadors have agreed in principle on 5 billion euros ($5.5 billion) in defense assistance for Ukraine in 2024 within the framework of the European Peace Facility (EPF), the Belgian Presidency of the EU Council said on March 13.

The EPF has been a key tool for supporting Ukraine's defense capabilities since 2022 but has been largely depleted as member states disagreed on the best way to replenish it and unlock further cash for Ukraine.

"The (European Union) remains determined to provide lasting support to (Ukraine) & ensure that the country gets the military equipment it needs to defend itself," the Belgian presidency said on social media.

The funds to purchase military supplies for Ukraine will be disbursed via the Ukraine Assistance Fund, a newly created tool under the EPF.

The Financial Times reported on March 12 that EU member states are near the deal on additional funds for Ukraine's defense. According to the outlet, the agreement will prioritize weapons produced inside the EU but will not exclude those manufactured outside the bloc.

Larger states contributing to the EPF have previously complained that smaller countries with stockpiles of Soviet-era equipment sent outdated military gear to Ukraine and used the reimbursements to modernize their own arsenals.

The FT reported in February that countries like Germany and France want to phase out the reimbursement model this year and instead focus EU funds directly on arms contracts within the continent.

Foreign arms supplies are now critical for Ukraine as assistance from the U.S., a key military donor, has been stalled for months by domestic political infighting.

US announces $300 million defense aid package for Ukraine
This is the first package since last December, as U.S. funds for Kyiv have been blocked by disputes in Congress.
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