Monday, October 2, 2023

EU foreign ministers approve Ukraine training mission, military aid

The EU military training mission “will train the Ukrainian Armed Forces so they can continue their courageous fight” against invading Russian forces.

• October 17, 2022
Ukrainian Armed Forces in training

A new military training mission for Ukraine in the European Union got the green light from the bloc’s foreign ministers on Monday in Luxembourg.

The EU military training mission “will train the Ukrainian Armed Forces so they can continue their courageous fight,” top EU diplomat Josep Borrell said in a statement.

EU foreign ministers meeting to discuss more support for Ukraine backed the mission after another Russian missile and drone attack rocked Kyiv on Monday morning.

The latest attacks on Kyiv “make clear the brutality with which this war is continuing,” German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said on her arrival, stressing the importance of supporting the country.

Ukrainian soldiers are to be trained in EU member states with the administrative mission headquartered in Brussels, Mr Borrell’s statement said. The mandate for the mission is for two years.

The first training programmes are to begin in mid-November, and 12,000 Ukrainian soldiers, including recruits, and special training for 2,800 other soldiers is to take place, according to a senior EU official.

The mission for Ukraine is potentially “the biggest mission of the EU ever,” Danish Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod said, adding that Denmark is to participate in an EU defence project for the first time.

Denmark recently overturned a special EU defence opt-out to join the bloc’s defence cooperation in a referendum against the backdrop of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Ireland wants to help Ukraine train in managing explosives, and demining work, Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said, noting previous EU training missions to Mali to provide similar assistance.

EU foreign ministers also agreed on another €500 million ($486.9 million) in military assistance for Ukraine, bringing the total amount allocated since the beginning of Russia’s invasion in February to €3.1 billion.

EU foreign ministers already backed a monitoring mission for the border region between Armenia and Azerbaijan as part of the bloc’s diplomatic efforts to restore peace to the region.

Next to Russia’s war on Ukraine, ministers are also to discuss how to respond to the Iranian regime’s crackdown on protesters and are set to impose more sanctions.

The bloc’s relations with China are also to be addressed on Monday before the topic will be under discussion at an EU leaders’ summit in Brussels later this week. 

(dpa/NAN)

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