The EU has agreed an extra €2bn for a fund that has been used to supply Ukraine with weapons.
EU foreign ministers meeting in Brussels on Monday signed off the money for the “European Peace Facility”, a fund that has been largely used to reimburse member states for supplying Ukraine with weapons and non-lethal military kit.
“This decision sends a clear political signal of the EU’s enduring commitment to military support for Ukraine and other partners alike,” the EU Council of Ministers said in a statement.
The €5bn fund was established last year with the aim of boosting security, but was rapidly becoming depleted following successive donations to Ukraine, raising concerns about whether the EU could maintain the flow of weapons and assist other states.
The €2bn top up was approved on Monday, despite concerns about Hungary’s “blackmail diplomacy”, after Budapest blocked an €18bn financial aid package for Ukraine last week. Hungary has previously signed off on the EU weapons fund for Ukraine, although it does not allow arms to pass through its territory.
Commenting on Budapest’s position on Ukraine, one senior diplomat said:
It’s a type of blackmail diplomacy that we would rather not see, but it is what it is, so we will have to deal with it.
Separately EU ministers also issued a statement condemning Iran for supplying Russia with weapons that have been used “indiscriminately by Russia” against Ukraine’s civilian population. It also warned Iran against any new deliveries of weapons to Russia including short-range ballistic missiles, which it said would “constitute a serious escalation”.
The EU is discussing its ninth round of sanctions against Russia, which include bans on the sale of drones and parts. Officials are concerned that Iranian weapons used in Ukraine, including drones, are being manufactured in Europe.