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7th Jul 2022

Borrell: EU arms flow to Ukraine amid 'record' Russian losses

  • EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell visiting Ukraine before the invasion (Photo: consilium.eu)
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Ukraine can continue to count on arms supplies from EU states as it inflicts "record" losses on Russia's invading force, the EU's foreign affairs chief has said.

"The war is at a critical moment, a turning point, and we cannot let Ukraine run out of equipment and we will not [do so]," Josep Borrell said after meeting EU defence ministers in Brussels Tuesday (17 May).

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The Ukrainian side was "having some extraordinary successes", he said, referring to news that it destroyed a Russian armoured column trying to cross a pontoon bridge over the Siversky Donets river in east Ukraine four days ago.

"If it is true that Russia has lost 15 percent of her troops since the beginning of the war, this is a world record of the losses of an army invading a country," Borrell added.

"The amount of losses of the Russian army is really impressive," he said.

Borrell spoke after EU ministers approved spending a further €500m on arms to Ukraine from a joint fund called the European Peace Facility, bringing the total in joint spending on the programme to €2bn.

But individual member states were also sending additional materiel on top of this, Borrell noted.

He declined to put a figure on the total bilateral assistance, but said: "It's much more than people believe".

Borrell spoke the same day that some 250 Ukrainian fighters besieged in a steel factory in Mariupol in east Ukraine ended their resistance, leaving the shattered city in Russian hands.

But, speaking late Monday on Russian TV, a leading Russian military analyst, former colonel Mikhail Khodaryonok, also admitted that the war was going badly.

"The situation, frankly speaking, will get worse for us," he said, in a rare break from Russia's triumphalist propaganda.

"The main deficiency of our military-political position is that we are in full geopolitical solitude and — however we don't want to admit it — practically the whole world is against us — and we need to get out of this situation," he added, amid contradictions and interruptions by the talk show host.

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EU must increase funding to "help ensure Ukraine prevails over Putin's aggression," US treasury secretary Janet Yellen said in Brussels — but some EU leaders are starting to sound less warlike and have instead called for an early peace.

EU plans to jointly invest in defence capabilities

EU countries need to refill stockpiles after several member states supplied weapons to Ukraine in its fight with Russia, and to phase out existing Soviet-era weapons systems, and reinforce air defence.

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EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said "no stone should be left unturned" in helping Ukraine rebuild post-war, including possibly seizing and repurposing Russian central bank assets — a move which would likely be challenged under international law.

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