EU agrees to provide $55 billion aid package for Ukraine as U.S. aid stalls
02/06/2024 // Cassie B. // Views

The European Union has approved a support package for Ukraine totaling $55 billion that was previously held up by objections from Hungary. Under the deal, funding from the EU for Ukraine will be locked in for the next four years.

In a post on X, European Council President Charles Michel announced that an agreement had been made that he says “locks in steadfast, long-term, predictable funding for Ukraine” and shows that the “EU is taking leadership and responsibility in support for Ukraine; we know what is at stake.”

The agreement came after lengthy delays resulting largely from a stalemate that arose when Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban blocked the aid package; it could only pass with a unanimous agreement among all 27 EU member countries.

Orban, who is considered one of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s closest allies within the EU leadership, vetoed the package toward the end of last year as the EU froze Hungary’s access to billions of euros in joint funds. He threatened to block it again in recent days, and the current lifting of Hungary’s veto that allowed the deal to go through came as a surprise to many. Orban has also criticized EU sanctions on Russia.

The deal will be good news for Ukraine as the push by President Joe Biden to replenish America's financial assistance for Ukraine is currently stalled in Congress.

After the European Parliament endorses the deal, Ukraine could receive the first set of funds as early as March. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky welcomed the deal, tweeting: “Continued EU financial support for Ukraine will strengthen long-term economic and financial stability, which is no less important than military assistance and sanctions pressure on Russia.”

Ukraine is struggling to keep up with Russia

As the two-year anniversary of Russia's invasion of Ukraine approaches, Kiev is finding itself lacking in both finances and weaponry. The funding from the EU will cover salaries and pensions, as well as weapons. Meanwhile, Russia has been forming weapons deals with countries such as North Korea and continues to replenish its own weapon and ammunition production at a rate that well outpaces that of Ukraine.

Even with the new funding and restocked weaponry, some experts think Ukraine will not be able to gain an edge over Russia. For example, Russian military expert Lyle Goldstein, a professor at Brown University, maintains that Russia's more sophisticated air force and weaponry give it a clear advantage.

He said: “A weapons system is unlikely to change the fundamentals, and that's proven true again and again.”

One example of this is the failed Ukrainian counteroffensive last year, which initially picked up some steam after getting tanks and other weapons from Western nations before ultimately stalling.

Ukraine continues to push U.S. to provide more aid

The EU’s support to Ukraine since fighting with Russia began totals $92 billion so far, including more than $43 billion to support the Ukrainian army, $29.2 billion for military assistance and $18.4 billion to help EU countries supporting Ukrainians who are fleeing the war.

Ukrainian officials continue to push the U.S. to hand out more aid, with Ukrainian First Deputy Prime Minister Yulia Svyrydenko emphasizing the importance of EU and U.S. aid in an interview with Reuters.

“Partners’ aid is critically important to maintain this stability,” she said, adding that she hopes the U.S. will follow the EU’s lead.

The U.S. has already sent more than $75 billion in assistance, including military, financial and humanitarian support, and many are wary of sending more as the country deals with other pressing issues that require resources, such as border security.

Sources for this article include:

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