skip to main content

Ukraine conflict: EU breaks with history to send weaponry to Ukraine

Equipment such as Javelin anti-tank weapons donated by Estonia to Ukraine will be financed by the EU's European Peace Facility. (Estonian MoD)

For the first time in its 65-year existence the EU will finance and organise the transfer of lethal weaponry to a country in conflict, in this case, Ukraine, to shore up its fight against Russia. The historical decision came after a snap virtual meeting of EU foreign ministers on 27 February, the fourth in a week, as the EU lined up its increasingly punitive sanctions against Moscow and its political, military and business elite.

The weaponry will be financed by the union's European Peace Facility (EPF), whose EUR5 billion (USD5.6 billion) budget for 2021–27 is designed to help weak, faltering or failed states in Europe's neighbouring regions.

“Another taboo has fallen: that the European Union could not provide arms in a war,” announced Josep Borrell, the EU foreign policy chief, after the unprecedented agreement. Noting that the decision will involve “the most important” weapons for fighting, he said, “We are going to provide even fighter jets, and not just simply ammunition.”

The ministers agreed to set aside EUR450 million to finance weapons transfers from their countries and EUR50 million for non-lethal supplies and equipment. Aside from weaponry, Kyiv has requested helmets, protective gear, and medical supplies and first-aid kits.

The total value of arms headed to Ukraine will be greater than the EPF funding because “you have to add all the materiel that the member states will be providing on their own”, observed Borrell. He added that the EU would also immediately help boost Ukraine's cyber defences.

Looking to read the full article?

Gain unlimited access to Janes news and more...