The European Union (EU) is planning to train an additional 10,000 Ukrainian troops by the end of this year, according to the bloc’s foreign-policy chief, Josep Borrell. Borrell made the announcement during an informal meeting of EU defense ministers, where he urged member states to raise the target for the Ukrainian troops training mission. He emphasized the need to do more and faster to support Ukraine’s security.
The training of Ukrainian service personnel in the EU has been progressing at an unprecedented speed, Borrell stated. As of now, approximately 25,000 soldiers have been prepared for battle as part of the EU Military Assistance Mission (EUMAM). The EU is on track to reach its initial target of training 30,000 Ukrainian soldiers by the end of October.
However, Borrell believes that more needs to be done. He suggested raising the objective for the mission to train 40,000 Ukrainian soldiers before the end of the year. In addition, he called for specialized training for smaller groups and command capacities. Borrell also revealed that the EU is exploring the possibility of including F-16 pilot training in the project. He highlighted the importance of contributing to the training of pilots for these planes.
To ensure the sustainability of military assistance to Ukraine, Borrell proposed the creation of a “Ukraine Assistance Fund” for the period 2024-2027. He stressed that EU nations would need to spend billions of euros to guarantee Kiev’s security in the coming years. The fund is expected to amount to €5 billion ($5.46 billion) annually. Borrell emphasized that it should be seen as a ceiling rather than a target, and it would be preferable if the EU could spend less.
Furthermore, Borrell called for the “security” funding to be separate from efforts to provide ammunition to Ukrainian troops. He referred to this as the “three-track ammunition initiative.” The EU has already invested approximately €1.1 billion ($1.2 billion) to supply Ukrainian forces with ammunition, including rounds and missiles. Borrell also mentioned the signing of a framework agreement with arms industries to facilitate common orders among member states. He expressed the need to ramp up industrial capacities in Europe to produce more arms.
Borrell’s remarks come at a time when Ukraine’s offensive has not yielded significant results since its launch two months ago. Despite receiving support from Western backers and an influx of heavy equipment, including tanks and armored vehicles, Kiev’s forces have suffered heavy losses in the operation.
In conclusion, the EU is intensifying its efforts to train Ukrainian troops, aiming to reach a target of 40,000 soldiers by the end of this year. The bloc is also considering additional support, such as specialized training for smaller groups and F-16 pilot training. In order to ensure the long-term security of Ukraine, Borrell proposed the creation of a €5 billion annual assistance fund. Separate from this, the EU aims to provide ammunition to Ukrainian forces through a “three-track ammunition initiative” and increase arms production capacity in Europe.