EU Urged Not To Ease Up On Ukraine Aid After US Vote


(MENAFN- The Peninsula) AFP

Luxembourg: European Union ministers on Monday said Europe must still speed up its arms deliveries to Ukraine, after US lawmakers eased pressure by unblocking a major aid package.

But at a meeting of EU defence and foreign ministers in Luxembourg there was no sign of more pledges of vitally needed air defence for Kyiv.

"We have to step up. It's a crucial time," Latvia's foreign minister Baiba Braze said at the start of the meeting.

The US House of Representatives on Saturday cheered Ukraine and its allies by approving a $61-billion package for Kyiv after six months of political wrangling.

"We dodged a historic bullet but, unfortunately, many more bullets are on the way," said Lithuania's foreign minister Gabrielius Landsbergis.

"We can be joyous for a day but we have to be prepared for the battles to come tomorrow."

While US aid has been stalled, Ukraine has been pleading with its EU backers to ramp up supplies of air defences desperately needed to repel Russian attacks.

But Europe has struggled to come up with the weaponry needed to keep Kyiv in the fight and Ukrainian forces are being pushed back along the front line.

Appeal for urgent action

So far only Germany has answered Kyiv's call in recent days by saying it would send an extra Patriot air defence system to Ukraine.

"We have been giving a lot of warnings, letters, asking them (EU countries) to see what we can do," said EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell.

"We need more ammunition. We need more launchers."

EU ministers once again heard Kyiv's appeals for urgent action when their Ukrainian counterparts briefed them on the dire situation on the ground.

NATO
secretary general Jens Stoltenberg said on Friday that he expected more NATO
countries to make announcements on fresh air defences for Kyiv "soon".

Ukraine has asked especially for seven more advanced Patriot systems capable of shooting down Russia's hypersonic missiles -- but is keen to get any help it can.

Six nations in the EU -- Germany, Greece, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania and Spain -- have the US-designed systems.

"What we need is action," said Dutch defence minister Kajsa Ollongren.

"Sometimes you need to talk to get the action and that's what we're doing today."

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The Peninsula

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