Western fund reaches 1.5 billion euros in pledges to bolster Ukrainian defense – POLITICO

A group of Western allies, including many EU countries and the United Kingdom, on Thursday pledged additional funding to help boost Ukraine’s defense capabilities, reaching 1.5 billion euros, while that Kyiv is preparing for a “marathon” war with Russia.

Representatives from 26 countries, led by Denmark and the UK, met in Copenhagen to discuss how to sustain long-term defense assistance for Kyiv, including funding, training and production artillery and ammunition. Danish Defense Minister Morten Bødskov said participating countries had “committed more than 1.5 billion euros on the table for Ukraine”, noting that Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic have also “signaled their willingness to increase the production of artillery systems, ammunition and other equipment”.

“Ukraine’s fight is our fight,” Bødskov told reporters after the meeting. “Today’s lecture,” he said, “was about more than just words.”

The announcement comes after the United States also authorized its largest delivery of military aid to Ukraine earlier this week, with a billion-dollar package of ammunition, weapons and equipment.

Iceland agreed at Thursday’s conference to lead the work of a demining training mission for Ukraine. And several countries – including Denmark and Norway – have pledged to join a UK-led program to train Ukrainian soldiers.

British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace, who spoke alongside his Danish and Ukrainian colleagues, said his country was now committed to going beyond its earlier target of training 10,000 Ukrainian troops in the course of the next few months.

“We’re going to train longer and longer,” Wallace said. “As long as Ukraine needs our support in this training, and according to the specialty.”

During the conference, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy urged officials to provide more arms and ammunition.

“To really stop Russia, the Ukrainian armed forces must have as many shells as necessary so that it is tangible that Russia is not able to put pressure on the battlefield,” Zelenskyy said by video link. “And Ukraine needs weapons of such power, such long range that Russia is forced to finally think about finding a peaceful solution.”

Speaking after the meeting, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said he was “satisfied with the conference”. While noting that many concrete details are classified, Reznikov said participants agreed on “clear initiatives and commitments” in areas such as arms production.

“I’m glad we all have the common sense that there is no time for fatigue,” he said, adding that for a “marathon” there is a need for “energy and, frankly, the main energy in this case is money”. ”

A full breakdown of what each country pledged on Thursday was not immediately available. But ministers at the meeting stressed that a key objective now is to maintain the current momentum and sustain aid to Ukraine in the longer term.

“No one can be tired right now,” Estonian Defense Minister Hanno Pevkur told POLITICO. “It’s a marathon, it’s not a sprint,” he said, adding that “more and more we will see new needs and new things that we have to take care of.”

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