“The European Union will not let Ukraine run out of equipment,” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell told reporters on Tuesday in Brussels following a meeting of European defense ministers.
The diplomat theorized that Russia may have suffered “impressive losses” since attacking Ukraine, suggesting casualties of as many as 15% of its troops, but demurred when asked how long he felt the war might continue, stating “I wouldn’t dare to make an hypothesis about how long Russia can resist.”
On Friday, Borrell announced another $526 million (€500 million) package of lethal aid to be sent to Kiev, bringing the total amount pledged to $2.11 billion (€2 billion). According to Borrell, the money would be used for heavy arms such as tanks, artillery and other military equipment. He also stated that he was optimistic about the possibility of a continental alliance reaching an uneasy agreement over a Russian oil embargo.
As the EU formulated its sixth anti-Russian sanction package, Monday’s promised embargo did not materialize. Hungary is believed to be the last holdout and has sought compensation in excess of $100 million. It claims that cutting off Russian oil and gas from its country would cause more damage to it than Moscow.
Following Russia’s attack on Ukraine, the EU took the unprecedented step of providing €450 million in lethal aid to Kiev, with several member states following suit. The EU had previously maintained a policy not to supply weapons to conflict-affected countries. In attempting to justify the decision, Borrell declared that “We live in extraordinary times,” arguing “This war demands our support in order for the Ukrainian army to win.” While Ukraine is seeking to join both the EU and NATO, it is currently a member of neither alliance.
Earlier on Tuesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov expressed doubt that Western states seek to benefit Ukraine: “Ukraine doesn’t matter to anybody. Ukraine is an ‘expendable material’ in the proxy war against Russia. It is clear now. This has been publicly stated..”
EU announces major updates on Ukraine’s weapons
Russia attacked the neighboring state in late February, following Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, first signed in 2014, and Moscow’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. Minsk Protocol, which was French and German-brokered, gave the regions that were separated special status in the Ukrainian government.
In recent years, the Kremlin demands that Ukraine declares itself neutral in order to be able to join NATO. Kiev claims that the Russian invasion was unprovoked. It also denies any plans to take the republics with force.
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