EU Promises to Double Military Aid to Ukraine

Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelenskiy

The European Union has promised to double military aid to Ukraine, pledging to train an additional 15,000 soldiers as part of a wide-ranging package of measures aimed at thwarting the Russian invasion.

Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, reaffirmed at the beginning of a two-day trip to Kyiv that the EU wanted to have a ninth package of sanctions against Russia in place by February 24, the first anniversary of the invasion authorized by Vladimir Putin.

“We are making Putin pay for his atrocious war,” she told reporters during a visit accompanied by 15 EU commissioners, the first time such a large number of EU officials have visited a combat zone. Today, Russia is paying a steep price as our sanctions erode its economy and set it back a generation.

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy said that preventing sanctions evasion was a shared responsibility. “The more we do it, the closer we will be to defeat of Russian aggression,” he said.

Von der Leyen reaffirmed that the EU would regulate the price of Russian petroleum products, as part of a larger G7 plan to limit the oil profits available to the Kremlin’s military machine. According to Von der Leyen, Russia incurs daily costs of €160m (£142m). The G7 and the EU have already agreed to a price restriction on crude oil, which went into effect in December and costs Russia €160m (£142m) a day.

The EU also aims to establish an international center in The Hague for the prosecution of war crimes committed in Ukraine. This center’s task will be to collect and keep evidence for any future trial.