EU foreign ministers agreed Monday to spend an extra 500 million euros ($540 million) from their common coffers on arms for Ukraine, diplomats said, as Kyiv pleads for heavier weapons.
The accord will take the total committed to supplying Ukraine’s military from common EU spending to 3.6 billion euros, which is separate from national spending by individual member states.
Overall, European nations have pledged more than 11 billion euros on weapons for Ukraine, EU officials say, less than half of what the United States is spending.
The latest tranche of funds comes as Germany faces intense pressure over its hesitation to give battle tanks to Ukraine.
“We need bold, decisive, and audacious steps to secure Ukraine’s victory in 2023,” Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba tweeted after briefing his counterparts from the EU.
Ukraine’s EU membership, military aid and tanks, sanctions on Russia, including missile industry and nuclear sphere, were on my agenda at EU Foreign Affairs Council upon @JosepBorrellF invitation. We need bold, decisive, and audacious steps to secure Ukraine’s victory in 2023. pic.twitter.com/8zDMwwMVOG
— Dmytro Kuleba (@DmytroKuleba) January 23, 2023
Ministers from the EU’s Baltic nations led calls for Berlin to greenlight sending Leopard 2 tanks to Kyiv at the meeting in Brussels.
Berlin has signaled it could be ready to grant permission for other countries such as Poland to hand over the German-made tanks.
“I wish I would not have to wait one more day for tanks to be delivered,” Lithuania’s Gabrielius Landsbergis said.
The EU funds are used to reimburse member states for weapons they have delivered to Ukraine.
Foreign ministers also agreed to spend 45 million euros on a training mission set up last year to train an initial 15,000 Ukrainian soldiers.