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EU foreign ministers have agreed to set up a training mission to help Ukraine’s army. Hungary was the only Member State not in support of the initiative, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said.
“We need to stay on the course of our triple strategy: supporting Ukraine, pressuring Russia, and addressing the wider fallout of the war,” Josep Borrell, the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy said at the Foreign Affairs Council‘s meeting in Luxembourg on Monday.
Among other things, the ministers agreed to establish an EU Military Assistance Mission to support the Ukrainian Armed Forces. The mission will train around 15,000 troops on EU soil.
The Hungarian government did not back the proposal, as Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó abstained from the vote, because the mission would risk escalating the war. He told journalists that Hungary opted for “constructive abstention” which did not prevent the proposal from being approved, but made it clear that the country does not want to contribute to the costs of the operation.
“Anything leading to escalation and western or central Europe being dragged into the war is not something we consider a good idea,”
he told journalists. It will always be decided on a case-by-case basis whether to allow any supplies or troop movements related to the mission to pass through the country, Szijjártó added.
The EU foreign ministers also agreed to allocate a further 500 million euros under the European Peace Facility to finance deliveries for the Ukrainian defense forces, thereby bringing EU’s military assistance for Ukraine to a total of 3.1 billion euros.
“Hungary has now contributed to this funding, but I have indicated that I cannot guarantee that this will be the case next time,” he said. He stressed that this framework also includes financial allocations for several other important purposes needed to address challenges from the south, and that the continent could be in big trouble if money is not made available for these.
Featured photo via Facebook/Szijjártó Péter