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The 27 are progressing, a little, to better arm Ukraine

European leaders, meeting on Thursday Brussels, have timidly progressed on the path to increased military aid à Ukraine, after a new appeal to with the help of its president, and face to face a Russian threat considered increasingly worrying.

They decided on Thursday to “move forward” with a plan to use profits from Russia's frozen assets in the EU to arm Ukraine.

The interest on these assets represents between 2.5 and 3 billion euros per year, according to the head of European diplomacy Josep Borrell.

“We are determined to act very quickly in order to be able to use part of this money to support Ukraine”, said the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, during a press conference on Thursday evening.

Russia on Wednesday threatened the European Union with legal action “for decades”, denouncing an initiative that amounts to “banditry” and “theft”.< /p>

It is “crucial” that the European Union provides more ammunition to the Ukrainian forces, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told the leaders of the Twenty-Seven, whom he joined by videoconference.

Kiev continues to ask its allies to speed up their deliveries of weapons and shells, but Western aid is running out of steam.

< p>The Europeans are looking for ways to strengthen the Ukrainian arsenal, as well as their own defense industry, at a time when American aid of more than 60 billion dollars is still blocked in Congress in Washington.

“Ukraine acts as a shield for Europe. It is therefore our responsibility to also act as a shield for Ukraine”, pleaded the President of the European Parliament Roberta Metsola.

– “Innovative” financing –

In addition to the seizure of income from frozen Russian assets, other “innovative” forms of financing are being studied.

The 27 have therefore asked the European Bank to (EIB), the EU's financing body, to expand its loans to defense companies.

But for Mr. Zelensky, time is running out. “Please do not waste the necessary time” to strengthen the defense industry, he asked.

For weeks, the forces Russians regain the initiative on the battlefield against the Ukrainians lacking ammunition and weapons.

Russia, for its part, put its economy on a war footing and received hundreds of thousands of shells from North Korea.

The EU wants to strengthen its arms production capacities, but faces a lack of funding to achieve this.

France and other countries such as Estonia are in favor of launching a large European loan in order to respond, as was the case during the Covid pandemic, to the “existential” threat weighing on Europe.

– A solution “now” –

“There are several possible paths to explore”, including one European loan, affirmed the French, Estonian, Lithuanian, Latvian, Portuguese and Romanian foreign ministers, in a joint letter.

But several countries, including Germany , the Netherlands and Sweden oppose it, and the Twenty-Seven only committed on Thursday to examining “all options” in terms of financing. “I am not convinced that +eurobonds+ (European loans) are the solution to everything,” declared the Belgian Prime Minister, in unison with other very reluctant countries.

< p>European leaders also managed to adopt a joint declaration on the situation in Gaza.

In this text, the first of 27 since the end of October, they demand an “immediate humanitarian pause” with a view to a lasting ceasefire and call on Israel to not launch an offensive in Rafah, in the south of the Gaza Strip.

Very divided on the subject, they had renounced a common text during their two previous summits, in December and February.

Finally, they gave the green light on Thursday to the opening of accession negotiations with Bosnia-Herzegovina, which will only begin that once a certain number of reforms have been carried out by this Balkan country.

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Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116