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A European Union (EU) flag next to the European Commission building in Brussels, Belgium, on Nov. 10, 2023. (Simon Wohlfahrt/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
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EU foreign ministers finally agreed to allocate additional 5 billion euros ($5.5 billion) in defense assistance for Ukraine in 2024 within the framework of the European Peace Facility (EPF), Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba announced on March 18.

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.

"With the fund, we will continue to support Ukraine defend itself from Russia’s war of aggression with whatever it takes and for as long as we need to," Josep Borrell, the EU's chief diplomat, said in a statement.

Budapest, which consistently undermined Western aid efforts for Ukraine, "constructively abstained" during the vote and did not block the decision, Zoltan Kovacs, the Hungarian government spokesperson, wrote on X.

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

At a meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Council, Kuleba also urged European allies to take all necessary decisions as soon as possible to increase and accelerate the supply of weapons and ammunition to Ukraine.

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

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.

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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