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EU agrees on extra 500 million euros to arm Ukraine

Protestors hold signs and wave Ukrainian flags during a demonstration in support of Ukraine outside of an EU foreign ministers meeting at the European Council building in Brussels on Monday, January 23, 2023. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)
Protestors hold signs and wave Ukrainian flags during a demonstration in support of Ukraine outside of an EU foreign ministers meeting at the European Council building in Brussels on Monday, January 23, 2023. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

EU foreign ministers agree to spend an extra 500 million euros ($540 million) from their common coffers on arms for Ukraine, diplomats say, as Kyiv pleads for heavier weapons.

The accord will take the total commitment to supplying Ukraine’s military from common EU spending to 3.6 billion euros ($3.9 billion), which is separate from national spending by individual member states.

Overall, European nations have pledged more than 11 billion euros ($12 billion) on weapons for Ukraine, EU officials say, less than half of what the United States is spending.

The latest tranche of funds comes as Germany faces intense pressure over its hesitation on giving battle tanks to Ukraine.

“We need bold, decisive, and audacious steps to secure Ukraine’s victory in 2023,” Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba tweets after briefing his counterparts from the EU.

Ministers from the EU’s Baltic nations led calls for Berlin to greenlight sending Leopard 2 tanks to Kyiv at the meeting in Brussels.

Berlin has signaled it could be ready to grant permission for other countries such as Poland to hand over the German-made tanks.

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