EU to increase military aid fund for Ukraine by €3.5 billion

BRUSSLES: At their meeting in Luxembourg, the bloc’s foreign ministers agreed to boost the military aid fund for Ukraine by €3.5 billion.

European Union foreign ministers meeting in Luxembourg on Monday decided to increase the joint military aid fund for Ukraine by a further €3.5 billion ($3.85 billion).

“We will continue to double down on our military support on both equipment [and] training. For as long as it takes,” EU top diplomat Josep Borrell wrote on Twitter, announcing the move.

As he arrived at the Luxembourg meeting, Borrell said continuing to support Ukraine is today more important than ever, alluding to the attempted uprising by Russian mercenary Wagner group at the weekend.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, who joined the meeting via videolink, said he “urged the EU to accelerate Russia’s defeat by stepping up support for Ukraine.”

According to EU data, since the start of Russia’s large-scale invasion of Ukraine, the European Union has already mobilized €3.6 billion from the shared fund to equip Ukraine’s military.

Baerbock: There are “massive cracks” in Russian propaganda

The tensions in Russia overshadowed the meeting of the EU’s top diplomats, with ministers mulling the potential consequences of the short-lived Wagner mutiny.

The unrest in Russia prompted German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock to shorten a planned trip to South Africa so she could attend the gathering.

The power struggle in Russia is far from over, she said. “It is obviously only one act in this Russian drama. It remains unclear what will happen to the various players in Russia,” she said.

Russia’s war in Ukraine has “devastating consequences” on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s power system, leading to “massive cracks” in Russia’s propaganda, Baerbock said.

EU diplomats warn of instability in Russia

Borrell struck a similar chord, saying Putin created a “monster” by starting the war. “The monster that Putin created with Wagner … is biting him now. The monster is acting against his creator,” he added.

“The political system is showing fragilities, and the military power is cracking,” Borrell told reporters. “It’s not a good thing to see that a nuclear power like Russia can go into a phase of political instability.”

Meanwhile, Luxembourg’s foreign minister, Jean Asselborn, warned of the potential consequences for Europe “if the largest country of the world with the most nuclear weapons worldwide was to crumble.”

He also pointed to other potential impacts of the power struggle in Russia that could bring uncertainty to Wagner troops deployed in African countries and make the on-going war in Ukraine even more brutal.

What else will ministers discuss?

Even before the events of the weekend in Russia, EU foreign ministers were expected to deal with several crises in the bloc’s vicinity.

Heightened tensions between Kosovo and Serbia and a recent mediation meeting in Brussels, which brought little progress, are on the agenda, as well as the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan and the situation in Tunisia.

Ministers are also expected to impose new sanctions on Iran over persistent human rights violations.

Diplomatic and trade relations with the Caribbean and Latin America are also on the agenda ahead of a summit with the countries of the region to be held in Brussels in July. —DW

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