EU Prepares Plan to Give Ukraine Lasting Security Commitments

(Bloomberg) -- The European Union has presented member states with a framework to give Ukraine lasting security commitments, including a mechanism for longer-term military support, the training of Ukrainian troops and help to boost the country’s defense industry.

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The draft paper, which was seen by Bloomberg, will be discussed by EU ambassadors this week and by the bloc’s leaders next month. It will also form the basis of consultations with Kyiv and the Group of Seven nations.

G-7 members agreed at a NATO summit earlier this year to negotiate a collection of bilateral security guarantees with Ukraine aimed at deterring future Russian aggression. For its part, Ukraine committed to continue a series of reforms, including to law enforcement, its judiciary as well as security and defense sectors. Some of Kyiv’s key allies are seeking to conclude bilateral agreements this year.

The EU’s framework aims to build on those bilateral arrangements, with proposals including:

  • “A predictable, efficient, sustainable and long-term mechanism for the provision of military equipment to Ukraine” that mobilizes the European defense industry

  • Providing training to Ukrainian armed forces

  • Greater cooperation with the Ukrainian defense industry to boost capacity and align standards

  • Strengthening Ukraine’s ability to counter cyber and hybrid threats as well as disinformation

  • Supporting Ukraine’s de-mining efforts and addressing contamination caused by explosive remnants

  • Helping Ukraine with its reform agenda relating to its EU accession process, as well as boosting its ability to monitor stocks of firearms, light weapons and ammunition and counter any illegal trafficking

  • Supporting the country’s energy transition and nuclear safety efforts

  • Sharing intelligence and satellite imagery

The discussion comes as the EU is falling short in its pledge to provide Ukraine with one million rounds of artillery ammunition by March 2024 and amid stalled negotiations over longer-term aid.

The paper says that support for the delivery of weapons would continue to be provided through the so-called European Peace Facility, a mechanism that reimburses member states for what they supply Ukraine.

However, an initial EU plan to put aside €20 billion ($21.8 billion) over four years to pay for weapons for Kyiv risks unraveling because some member states, including Germany, couldn’t agree on the terms, according to an EU diplomat.

Instead, member states are hoping to at least agree to €5 billion for next year with commitments for continued support to follow thereafter, said the diplomat, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

EU leaders are expected to discuss at a summit in December a European Commission recommendation to formally open membership talks with Ukraine.

Separately, Hungary has also been blocking the various streams of support as it wants the EU to first have a discussion about its overall Ukraine strategy, another diplomat said.

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