The European Union has once again increased its support for Ukraine. A new initiative is pouring much-needed munitions into the war-torn country — and a Western “fighter jet coalition” is taking more concrete shape.
The Ukrainian armed forces have already received around 220,000 artillery shells and mortar shells through the new EU initiative for ammunition supplies. This was announced by a spokeswoman for EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell on Tuesday after a meeting of defense ministers in Brussels. According to their information, around 1,300 missiles were also delivered, including anti-tank missiles, anti-ship missiles and anti-aircraft missiles. In March, the EU states promised Ukraine to provide a million new artillery shells and missiles for the defensive war against Russia within twelve months. They are to be organized from the stocks of the member states, but in the future also through new joint procurement projects. “Fighter jet coalition” is taking shape It has also become known that Poland, like other countries, will participate in the training of Ukrainian fighter pilots. This was confirmed by Poland’s Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak. Dutch Defense Minister Kajsa Ollongren said that the Netherlands, together with Denmark, are also ready to start training. The next step will be to talk to other countries about who has F-16 fighter jets available. Ukraine has been pushing for this for a long time that Western allies are supplying fighter jets to the country attacked by Russia. US President Biden cleared the way for training on Friday. The country supports the training of Ukrainian pilots on F-16 fighter jets, as was announced at the G7 summit. USA with a key role While the training is ongoing, a decision will then be made together with other partners on who will deliver how many aircraft and when. The USA plays a key role, not only because of its own large stocks. They must also approve any export of F-16s held by allies.NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg thanked the participating states for the fighter jet training. This creates the opportunity to make a decision about the delivery later, said the Norwegian in Brussels. The EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell initially said on Tuesday morning that the training of the pilots in Poland had already begun (see video above). Defense Minister Blaszczak contradicted this in the afternoon. However, Poland is ready to start training. EU transfers further billions to Ukraine EU Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen also announced that the European Union has paid additional billions in aid to Ukraine. The 1.5 billion euros are already the fourth tranche of Ukraine aid. Up to €18 billion is foreseen under the macro-financial assistance package. “Since the beginning of this year, the EU has already disbursed €7.5 billion in macro-financial assistance. These funds will contribute significantly to Ukraine’s immediate financial needs. And there will be more to come,” von der Leyen said in a statement. This should continue to pay wages and pensions and maintain hospitals, schools and accommodation for resettled people. The aid is tied to Ukraine meeting certain conditions. Among other things, the rule of law should be strengthened and it should be made transparent where the money goes. Under these conditions, the next 1.5 billion should flow to Ukraine in June.
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