The European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said the bloc targets $5 billion in weapons transfers to Ukraine annually for the next four years. To provide additional assistance to Kiev, the EU is attempting to train 40,000 Ukrainian soldiers by the end of the year.
During a meeting of EU defense ministers in Spain, the bloc’s foreign policy chief pushed its members to set a sustainable goal for arming Ukraine annually. Borrell suggested that the spending could be as high as $5 billion annually but stressed that number was a ceiling.
Borrell raised the EU’s target for training Ukrainian soldiers in 2023. Initially, the bloc set a goal of 15,000. As Ukraine has sustained high casualties on the battlefield, the EU has nearly tripped its target to 40,000.
In a press conference after the meeting, Borrell said the defense ministers responded favorably to his proposals, although no formal pact was made.
The day before the meeting, the bloc’s foreign policy chief called on EU members to live up to their commitments and provide more ammunition to Kiev. “Now it’s (up) to the member states to pass concrete orders inside these framework agreements with the industry,” he said.
The West has made several pledges to Ukraine to provide the country with all the weapons it needs to defeat Russia on Kiev’s terms. However, the West has limited its arms transfers to Ukraine out of fears of provoking Russia or the weapons being captured by Moscow.
Still, the US and its allies have pushed Kiev to launch a counteroffensive that was anticipated to have high casualties among Ukrainian forces. The bloody operations have netted few gains for Kiev, and the massive losses for Ukrainian troops has blunted the country’s morale in the country. Some citizens report that soldiers die within a few days of reaching the frontlines.
Western officials have stated that they hope Kiev will maintain the operations despite the massive casualties. Several US officials have explained that spending money on the war in Ukraine is an economic use of American taxpayer dollars as the Russian army is being weakened without putting US soldiers in harm’s way.
“Even Americans who have no particular interest in freedom and independence in democracies worldwide, should be satisfied that we’re getting our money’s worth on our Ukraine investment,” Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) recently wrote in the Connecticut Post. “For less than 3 percent of our nation’s military budget, we’ve enabled Ukraine to degrade Russia’s military strength by half … All without a single American service woman or man injured or lost.”