European Union plans to provide military training mission to Ukraine amid continuing tensions between Russia and the former Soviet Republic
Responding to a request from Ukraine for help with “professional military training”, the EU already sent a fact-finding mission to the country last month.
The subject will be discussed at a summit scheduled for Tuesday in Kiev, officials said on condition of anonymity in accordance with EU practices.
The results of the mission have yet to be analyzed in order to define how the bloc might best help and what the support might look like.
One official said the EU Political and Security Committee, which is responsible for the bloc’s common foreign and security policy, will return to the issue in November.
“What we are looking for at the moment is to explore the possibilities of supporting more broadly what I would call Ukraine’s resilience, and this obviously includes in the field of professional military education,” said one. responsible.
This summer, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called for closer ties between his country and NATO and the EU. Ukraine is grappling with a bitter standoff with Russia, which in 2014 annexed Crimea and has since supported a separatist insurgency in eastern Ukraine, and Kiev’s efforts to bolster support from Western countries .
The EU has imposed economic sanctions against Russia and targeted several individuals and entities with restrictive measures in response to the annexation of Crimea and what it calls “the deliberate destabilization of Ukraine”.
Moscow’s annexation and support for rebels in eastern Ukraine, where more than 14,000 people have been killed since 2014 in fighting between separatists and Ukrainian forces, have plunged Russia’s relations with the West at the low point of the post-Cold War era.
Tensions have risen further this year after Russia increased the number of its troops near its borders with Ukraine, including in Crimea, sparking international outrage.
At the summit, European Council President Charles Michel and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen are expected to reiterate the EU’s “unwavering” commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, officials said. Zelenskyy will represent Ukraine at the talks.
They will also discuss disinformation and cybersecurity with their Ukrainian counterparts. The two sides have already started a so-called cyber-dialogue, with a second round of talks on the topic scheduled for next year.
“What we are trying to achieve is really to put in place a mechanism to strengthen and deepen inter-institutional cybersecurity cooperation almost daily,” an official said.
Further talks at the summit will focus on progress made since the two sides signed their landmark association agreement in 2014, which stipulated free trade and visa-free travel between the two.
The EU will recognize Kyiv’s efforts to continue pushing for reforms – including in the rule of law and justice, and the creation of effective anti-corruption mechanisms – with bloc officials expected to push for further engagement to ensure that the changes become irreversible.
Other topics will also include climate change, aviation, energy and cooperation to tackle the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.