By Agnes Szucs
BRUSSELS (AA) – The European Union on Tuesday approved another tranche of €500 million ($535 million) military aid for Ukraine.
The Council of the EU, representing the member states, said in a statement that it decided to allocate another €500 million for Ukraine under the European Peace Facility, bringing the bloc’s total military support to €2 billion ($2.14 billion).
With the aid, the EU seeks to “further support the capabilities and resilience of the Ukrainian Armed Forces to defend the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the country, and protect the civilian population against the ongoing Russian military aggression,” the announcement said.
The statement added that €490 million will be spent on lethal military equipment, while the rest will assure personal protective gear, first aid kits, and fuels.
“The history of tomorrow is being written today, on the battlefields of Ukraine,” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said, welcoming the adoption of the proposal he presented two weeks ago.
He also confirmed the EU’s determination to continue assisting Ukraine until the end of the war.
The war in Ukraine represents the first time in the bloc’s history that it provides military equipment to another country.
The EU has mobilized more than €4 billion in macro-financial assistance, humanitarian aid, and support to EU countries hosting refugees from Ukraine since the war began on Feb. 24.
It has also adopted five sets of sanctions against Russia, targeting individuals, including Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, as well as banning the export of luxury goods, and coal imports, and excluding Russian and Belarusian banks from using the SWIFT international payment system.
EU Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen last week announced an extra €9 billion in macro-financial assistance package for Ukraine which is expected to be endorsed by EU leaders at next week’s summit.
At least 3,930 civilians have been killed and 4,532 injured since Russia launched a war on Ukraine on Feb. 24. The true toll is believed to be significantly higher.
Nearly 6.6 million people have fled to other countries, while over 7.7 million people have been internally displaced, according to the UN refugee agency.