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EU and Ukraine to sign security deal – Reuters

The bloc has pledged long-term support for Kiev in the conflict with Moscow

Brussels intends to sign a defense pact with Ukraine’s Vladimir Zelensky on Thursday, Reuters has reported, citing a draft document leaked to the outlet in advance.

The deal is intended to show the EU’s long-term support for Kiev as the conflict with Moscow shows no sign of ending soon. Ukraine has “no immediate prospect” of joining either the EU or NATO, Reuters said.

“Today, Ambassador Igor Zhovkva and I wrapped up discussions on the joint security commitments between the EU and Ukraine,” Charles Fries, the French diplomat who is the deputy secretary-general for ‘Peace, Security and Defense’ at the EU External Action Service, said on X (formerly Twitter) on Wednesday. “The EU is fully united and resolved to support Ukraine, whatever it takes.”

According to the draft, the agreement obligates the bloc to help Kiev in nine areas of security and defense policy, from weapons deliveries and training of the Ukrainian military, to demining and “defense industry cooperation.” 

Zelensky himself is supposed to sign it in Brussels on Thursday, while making an unannounced visit to the summit of EU member state leaders.

The security agreement isn’t quite a mutual defense pact, but a pledge that the EU will provide Ukraine with weapons and other aid against “future invasion,” according to anonymous officials who spoke to Reuters. In the event of “future aggression,” the deal obligates the EU and Ukraine to consult within 24 hours and “swiftly determine” their next steps. 

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It does not specify the value or quantity of future military aid, beyond acknowledging the bloc’s agreement to fund the Ukrainian military to the tune of €5 billion this year, while “further comparable annual increases could be envisaged until 2027.”

Similar security treaties with Kiev have already been made by the US, UK, France, and Germany. Western powers have sought to formalize the ad-hoc funding to Kiev in case of election upsets later this year.

The EU agreement’s commitments will remain in effect “as Ukraine pursues its European path” and will be reviewed within ten years, Reuters said. The bloc formally opened negotiations for Ukraine’s eventual membership on Tuesday, with the EU ambassador in Kiev speculating that the process could be complete by 2030.

June 27, 2024 at 02:27AM

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