Thursday, December 8

The EU creates a mission to train 15,000 Ukrainian soldiers and provides another 500 million for weapons

A mission to train some 15,000 soldiers and another 500 million in weapons, a sixth tranche through the European Instrument for Peace, which already accumulates 3,000 million euros to send weapons to Ukraine with EU money. These are two decisions that the EU foreign ministers, meeting in Luxembourg, have taken this Monday.

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The Military Assistance Mission in support of Ukraine (EUMAM Ukraine) aims to “contribute to improving the military capacity of the Armed Forces of Ukraine to conduct military operations effectively, in order to enable Ukraine to defend its territorial integrity within of its internationally recognized borders, effectively exercise its sovereignty and protect civilians,” the 27 state: “In response to Ukraine’s request for military support, the mission will provide individual, collective and specialized training to the Armed Forces of Ukraine, including its Territorial Defense Forces, and the coordination and synchronization of the activities of the Member States that support the training”.

The decision has had the abstention of Hungary, Russia’s main ally in the EU, and Austria.

As approved by the foreign ministers, the mission will operate in the territory of the EU Member States and will have its operational headquarters within the EU foreign action service in Brussels – dependent on Borrell – “to guarantee general coordination at the strategic. Vice Admiral Hervé Bléjean, director of the Military Planning and Execution Capability (MPCC) within the EEAS, will be the mission commander.

The mandate of the non-executive mission will have an initial duration of two years, and “the financial reference amount for the common costs of this period will be 106,700,000 euros”, reports the Council of the EU: “The mission will guarantee coordination with the bilateral activities of the Member States in support of Ukraine, as well as with other international partners, and will be open to the participation of third States”.

The head of European diplomacy, Josep Borrell, explained at the beginning of the meeting: “The most important decision is related to the new tranche of military support for Ukraine and the deployment of a training mission. The socioeconomic consequences of the war continue. This war continues to send shock waves across the world. Russia is increasingly isolated, as we saw on the last day at the United Nations. Morally, politically, even militarily, Russia is losing this war. We have to continue to support Ukraine. And that is why the ministers decide today on the sixth tranche of the European Peace Fund and a training mission, a powerful training mission deployed outside the borders of Ukraine, but providing strong support to the Ukrainian army”.

“It is clear that if the armies of the European Union unite and add all their capabilities, they can do much more than each one on their own. And now it is high-level training not only for soldiers, but also for commanders,” said Borrell: “This European mission will not be deployed in Ukraine, it will be deployed in neighboring countries. It is important for us that Poland is the host of this mission and that other countries are also.

Jeppe Kofod, Danish Foreign Minister, stated: “It is perhaps the largest mission in the history of the EU, a long and sustainable mission to train Ukrainian troops.”

The Irish minister, Simon Coveney, for his part, explained about the mission: “It is an effort by the European Union to structure how we can help train and improve the skills of the Ukrainian army to ensure that they can protect themselves from Russian aggression. Ireland can be helpful around handling explosives – unfortunately there are many many thousands of landmines laid in Ukraine, and I hope that Ireland can help train the Ukrainian military so that they can deal safely to try to prevent the kind of horrific injuries that many civilians and indeed military personnel could suffer if that demining program is not successful.”

Another 500 million, up to 3,000

The foreign ministers also approved the sixth tranche of €500 million, which will bring the total EU contribution under the European Peace Support Fund to Ukraine to €3.1 billion.

“The equipment to be provided in the new aid package is in line with the current priorities expressed by the Ukrainian Government”, explains the Council of the EU: “In this context, the assistance measures consist of €490 million for equipment military designed to produce lethal effects for defensive purposes, as well as 10 million euros intended to cover the provision of equipment and supplies, such as personal protective equipment, first aid kits and fuel. Furthermore, both assistance measures will make it possible to ensure the maintenance and repair of military equipment already donated to Ukraine by EU Member States under the European Peace Support Fund.”