EU set to greenlight Ukraine training mission, arms funds

The European Union is due on Monday to greenlight a military training mission in Europe for thousands of Ukrainian troops and provide around half a billion euros (dollars) in extra funds to help buy weapons for the war-torn country.

“Morally, politically, even militarily, Russia is losing this war. So, we have to continue supporting Ukraine,” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell told reporters in Luxembourg, where he was chairing a meeting of the 27-nation bloc’s foreign ministers.

Borrell said the EU would set up “a powerful training mission deployed out of the borders of Ukraine.”

The aim is to train some 15,000 Ukrainian troops, chiefly in Poland and Germany. It would range from standard military training to specialized instruction, based on Ukraine’s needs. It’s hoped that the mission will be up and running by mid-November.

Several EU and NATO nations are already training Ukraine’s armed forces on a bilateral basis. Asked what added value the Brussels-headquartered mission would bring, Borrell said he’s “strongly convinced that putting together the capacities of the European armies we can offer a much better product.”

NATO started training military instructors in Ukraine after Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula in 2014. The military alliance believes that training the trainers is the most effective way of helping Ukraine’s armed forces as it does not require troops needed for battle to leave the country.

At their meeting in Luxembourg, the ministers are also expected to approve a sixth tranche of money, worth around 500 million euros (dollars), from the European Peace Facility — a fund being used to reimburse member countries that provide weapons, ammunition and non-lethal military support to Ukraine.

It will bring to just over 3 billion euros the total EU sum in security support being made available for Ukraine. Individual countries are also spending more on top of that. The decisions will come almost eight months after Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine.

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