EU council agrees 5 billion euro top-up for Ukraine's armed forces

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(VOVWORLD) - The Council of the European Union on Monday ratified an agreement to increase the EU's support for Ukraine's armed forces by 5 billion euros (5.4 billion USD) through a dedicated assistance fund.

EU council agrees 5 billion euro top-up for Ukraine's armed forces - ảnh 1Ukrainian servicemen attend the handover ceremony of military heavy weapons and equipment in Kiev on November 15, 2018. (Photo: Getty Images/VNA)

The EU said the money would fund training and both lethal and non-lethal military gear. It will also be used to refund member states for military supplies sent to Ukraine.

The 5 billion euro top-up means the fund's ceiling is now set at 17 billion euros for the 2021-2027 period, the council said in the same statement. Ambassadors of the EU's 27 member countries agreed to the additional funds last week.

Speaking at the meeting of the EU Foreign Affairs Council, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said that the move to unlock the aid was an important step for Ukraine.

European Council President Charles Michel said Europe must strengthen its defense capabilities. He urged EU countries to facilitate investments in defense - including by considering changing the mandate of the EU lending arm, the European Investment Bank, to allow it to support Europe's defense industry.