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Von der Leyen: EU to open Defense Innovation office in Kyiv

by Elsa Court and The Kyiv Independent news desk February 24, 2024 6:58 PM 2 min read
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, and Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo in Kyiv on Feb. 24, 2024. (President Volodymyr Zelensky / X)
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The European Union will open an office for Defense Innovation in Kyiv, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced during a press conference in Kyiv on Feb. 24.

Von der Leyen arrived in Kyiv earlier on Feb. 24 on the two-year anniversary of the launch of Russia's full-scale invasion, along with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, and Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo.

The Defense Innovation office will support the further integration of Ukraine into European defense programs, while at the same time allowing European countries to learn from the experiences of the Ukrainian military on the battlefield.

The EU has so far delivered 28 billion euros ($30.3 billion) in military assistance to Ukraine, according to von der Leyen.

"As Russia is intensifying its vicious attacks on your country, we are also doubling down on our military support," von der Leyen said.

"We are working to set up the Ukraine Assistance Fund. This will bring another 5 billion euros ($5.4 billion) for joint European procurement of the weapons you need."

The European defense industry is "stepping up a gear" and increasing ammunition production by 40%, von der Leyen said.

Von der Leyen said that the EU has already delivered 500,000 ammunition rounds to Ukraine, with 1 million rounds will be delivered before the end of the year, and will have trained 60,000 Ukrainian soldiers by the summer of 2024.

During her visit to Kyiv, von der Leyen also handed over 50 new police vehicles funded by the EU to the Ukrainian police working in areas liberated from Russian occupation.

"This is EU solidarity in action," von der Leyen said.

After 2 years of Russia’s full-scale war, Ukraine keeps fighting
Exactly two years ago, on Feb. 24, 2022, Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the largest military attack in Europe since World War II. This day in 2022 also marked a turning point in a decade of ongoing Russian aggression against Ukraine that started with the illegal annexation of
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