EU ministers sign military training mission for Ukrainian soldiers

EU ministers sign military training mission for Ukrainian soldiers

EU ministers sign military training mission for Ukrainian soldiers

European Union foreign ministers are expected to sign off on Monday on a military aid mission to train 15,000 Ukrainian personnel in various member states.

The plans would mean that both Ukrainian recruits and specialized personnel would receive training on EU soil over the next two years.

The idea for an EU Military Assistance Mission was first floated by the bloc’s High Representative Josep Borrell in a non-paper published in August following Ukraine’s request.

It is loosely based on a proposal that preceded the Russian invasion of Ukraine to provide high-level training within the country’s borders, which never materialized.

One EU diplomat described the plan as “radically new and very significant”.

Several EU countries already provide training to Ukrainian forces on a bilateral basis, although this is usually limited to ensuring they can operate military equipment provided to the country by these member states to defend against Russian forces.

EU military aid would expand the scope of training with a clear command structure coordinating supply and demand between Ukrainians and EU countries, as well as other partners and allies already providing training to Ukrainian troops, including Canada, the UK and the US.

Ministers still have a lot to decide as they meet in Luxembourg for the Foreign Affairs Council, including which EU countries will offer staff, instructors and training modules, as well as how and from where Ukrainian troops enter and leave the EU.

Poland and Germany are believed to have committed to hosting command centers and providing training. France is also expected to participate.

A senior EU official stressed that the mission is needs-based and that the type of training offered will be adjusted as the conflict evolves. The number of Ukrainian soldiers undergoing training could also increase.

The UK, for example, has already trained 10,000 Ukrainian troops since the start of the Russian invasion on February 24 and is providing air bases for Canada to offer its own training to another 10,000 Ukrainian troops. Training in the USA is provided outside of Germany.

The military aid mission is expected to cost up to 100 million euros over two years, which will be financed through the European Peace Fund.

Foreign ministers will also discuss possible sanctions against Iran for its violent crackdown on protests over the death of Mahsa Amini, as well as EU policy towards China.

The conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan will be discussed after the meeting of these countries with Borel and French President Emmanuel Macron earlier this month during which they agreed to an EU observer mission for the first time.

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