EU announces new aid package for Ukraine

Germany will reinforce its military support to Kiev with an additional 100 Patriot missiles, while Italy will mobilise a fund of 140 million euros to rebuild Ukraine's infrastructure 
El presidente ucraniano, Volodymyr Zelensky, pronuncia un discurso en la Conferencia de Recuperación de Ucrania en Berlín - JOHN MACDOUGALL / AFP
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky addresses the Ukraine Recovery Conference in Berlin - JOHN MACDOUGALL / AFP
  1. Far-right and far-left stand up to Zelensky  
  2. US lifts arms ban on Azov Brigade  

On the occasion of the Ukraine Recovery Conference in Berlin, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced a new financial assistance package worth 1.9 billion euros "to support Ukraine in its resilience and recovery".  

This money will come from an EU fund signed by all 27 member states to support Ukraine's economy until 2027. This support programme, worth 50 billion euros, is based on grants and loans financed from the EU budget.  

In addition to this aid, the president of the European Commission said that an additional 1.5 billion euros in interest accrued on frozen Russian assets in the West would be available in July

In addition, the EU has signed agreements worth 1.4 billion euros with partner banks in order to attract private sector investment from Ukraine. In this regard, targeted support for Ukrainian equity investments was also announced with the aim of improving financing for Ukrainian companies, especially for SMEs and start-ups that can help modernise the national economy. 

Since the beginning of the Russian invasion, EU financial, humanitarian, emergency, budgetary and military support to Ukraine is estimated at almost 100 billion euros

While Brussels is increasing financial assistance, Germany has announced it will deliver an additional 100 Patriot air defence missiles to Ukraine in a joint initiative with Denmark, the Netherlands and Norway.

Anti-tank weapons, components for artillery ammunition, several thousand attack drones and anti-drone equipment, as well as small arms, in particular sniper rifles, are also expected to be delivered in the medium term, as German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius announced during a visit to a military base where Ukrainian soldiers are training. 

Regarding the reconstruction of the country, the Ukrainian and German finance ministries have signed a joint Declaration of Intent to boost bilateral cooperation in this area.

"We do not limit ourselves to the form of support Ukraine needs to win the war," said German Finance Minister Christian Lindner. "We want to help Ukraine set the course for future growth through reconstruction," he added, according to Reuters.

The World Bank estimates that Ukraine's reconstruction will require investments of almost $500 billion over the next decade.  

Italy is also joining efforts to rebuild Ukraine's infrastructure after years of war. Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani has confirmed a 140 million euro package for Ukrainian infrastructure. He also said that Rome is preparing to send new military aid, highlighting the reinforcement of air defence.  

Far-right and far-left stand up to Zelensky  

The new aid funds were announced on the sidelines of this year's German-organised Ukraine Recovery Conference. Ukrainian President Volodimir Zelensky has travelled to Berlin with several of his ministers to participate in the event and to meet with top German officials. The Ukrainian leader also took advantage of his visit to address the German Parliament, the Bundestag.   

Zelensky thanked Berlin for its support, noting that the arms shipment "saved the lives of thousands of citizens". The Russian invasion of Ukraine pushed Germany to leave behind its pacifist policy adopted after the end of World War II, making it the biggest supporter of Kiev in Europe and second only to the United States globally.  

The Ukrainian leader assured that Russian President Vladimir Putin "will lose this war", and will not continue to occupy Europe "with his disregard for life". "We will not pass this war on to the next generation. We will end it. We will end it in the interests of Ukraine and Europe as a whole," Zelensky declared. 

Both far-left and far-right politicians boycotted the Ukrainian president's speech to the Bundestag, something that has also happened in other European parliaments.  

US lifts arms ban on Azov Brigade  

This new European aid coincides with the US decision to lift the arms ban on Ukraine's Azov Brigade. The controversial military unit was instrumental in defending the port city of Mariupol at the beginning of the Russian invasion. 

However, it has always been in the spotlight because of its origins and links to neo-Nazism. This was precisely the reason why Washington initially banned the group from using its weapons, but in the end, after ‘exhaustive review’, the US claims to have found ‘no evidence’ of rights violations. 

According to US law, Washington cannot provide equipment or training to foreign military units suspected of committing serious human rights violations. 

Azov has welcomed the decision, calling it "a new page in the unit's history". "Azov is becoming even more powerful, more professional and more dangerous for the occupiers," he added.