EU to send fighter jets to Ukraine – Reuters

Bloc diplomacy chief says lethal aid will be channeled through Poland

The High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs, Josep Borrell, revealed that a package of 450 million euros from “lethal aid” for Ukraine will include fighter jets, with all weapons delivered via Poland. Borrell also said about half of the Russian Central Bank’s reserves would be frozen.

Speaking hours after European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced that the bloc “finance the purchase and delivery of arms and other equipment” for Ukraine, Borrell revealed that the EU “lethal aid” would amount to 450 million euros ($501 million), plus 50 million euros ($55,744) for non-lethal assistance, including fuel and medical supplies.

“Certainly we will provide weapons… we will even provide fighter planes,” Borrell told reporters. “We are not just talking about ammunition. »

Borrell added that Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba had requested fighter jets that Ukrainian pilots could operate, and that these planes could be purchased from certain EU countries. The Ukrainian Air Force uses Soviet-designed MiG-29 and Sukhoi Su-24, Su-25 and Su-27 aircraft in combat roles, and with the Su-25 used by Bulgaria and the MiG- 29 used by Poland, Bulgaria and Slovakia, the jets will probably come from these countries.

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Borrell said the military aid would be flown to Ukraine via Poland, although he did not say whether the jets would be flown into Ukraine or crossed the border.

The head of EU diplomacy also announced that financial sanctions would be frozen “about half of the financial reserves of the Russian central bank. » Half of Russia’s reserves are in banks in G7 countries, Borrell said, explaining that the EU cannot block the other half located in Russia or elsewhere.

While some EU countries, as well as the UK and US, have pledged caches of military aid to Ukraine in recent days, the bloc’s move is unprecedented.

It comes four days after the start of Russia’s military offensive against Ukraine, which was launched after months of negotiations with the West over Kiev’s failed aspirations to NATO membership. Russia has long viewed the idea of ​​Ukraine joining the alliance as an unacceptable security risk, but leaders in Kiev, Washington and Brussels have refused to rule out Ukraine’s membership in the alliance pact. Cold War era.

Delegations from Ukraine and Russia plan to meet in Belarus on Monday for interim talks.

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EU to send fighter jets to Ukraine – Reuters