The European Union (EU) is considering the possibility of relocating a training program for Ukrainian troops to Ukrainian territory in the future, according to Germany’s DPA news agency. Additionally, the EU may allocate billions more euros towards supporting the Ukrainian military in the coming years.
In a report published on Thursday, DPA revealed that EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell is prepared to propose a significant expansion of the existing training program for the Ukrainian military during a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels later that day. The report, citing a document outlining Borrell’s proposals, stated that “when the circumstances allow, a gradual relocation of the training activities to Ukraine could even be considered.” The condition for this scenario to materialize is a ceasefire between Kiev and Moscow. The idea behind this proposal is that it would act as a deterrent against future Russian incursions, as service members from EU nations would be stationed in Ukraine as well.
Furthermore, Borrell is reportedly planning to call on EU member states to contribute more towards weapons deliveries to Kiev, including modern fighter jets. According to DPA, Borrell aims to secure around €5 billion ($5.6 billion) annually between 2024 and 2027 for this purpose. The funds would come from the EU’s Peace Facility (EPF).
Among the other proposals Borrell is expected to make is the setting of “new quantitative and qualitative training targets” for EU nations. The report highlighted that the EU initially pledged to train 30,000 Ukrainian service members, with 25,000 already completing or about to complete their training.
Borrell also aims to foster closer cooperation between Ukraine and the EU in terms of arms production and intelligence sharing, according to the report.
Meanwhile, the Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto declared that Hungary would block a new €500 million tranche of EU military aid for Ukraine unless the Ukrainian government removed Hungary’s OTP bank from its “sponsors of war” list. The Ukrainian authorities added this designation to OTP bank in May due to its alleged operations in Russia.
Russia has consistently argued that Western support for Ukraine will only serve to prolong the bloodshed.
The potential relocation of the training program to Ukrainian territory signifies the EU’s commitment to Ukraine’s security and defense. By stationing EU service members in Ukraine, the bloc aims to enhance deterrence against potential Russian aggression. Additionally, the increased funding for weapons deliveries and training aims to bolster the Ukrainian military’s capabilities. The proposed closer cooperation between Ukraine and the EU in arms production and intelligence sharing demonstrates a desire for strategic collaboration in the defense sector.
However, hurdles such as the Hungarian-Hungarian dispute over OTP bank’s designation as a “sponsor of war” could impede the flow of EU military aid to Ukraine.
Russia’s opposition to Western support for Ukraine continues to pose a challenge. While the EU and its member states are pushing for increased assistance to Ukraine, Russia argues that such support will only exacerbate the conflict in the region.
The final decision on the proposed measures will be made during the EU foreign ministers’ meeting in Brussels. The outcome of this meeting will determine the direction of the EU’s engagement in Ukraine and its commitment to the country’s defense and security.