EU must urgently decide on using Russian Central Bank's frozen profits for military aid to Ukraine - Spruds

  • 2024-04-23
  • LETA/TBT Staff

RIGA - The European Union (EU) must urgently decide on using the Russian Central Bank's frozen profits for military aid to Ukraine, as these roughly EUR 3 billion a year together with the support provided by the EU and its member states would allow Ukraine to buy the much needed munitions and air defense, Latvian Defense Minister Andris Spruds (Progressives) said Monday after the meeting of the EU Foreign Relations Council.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba and Defense Minister Rustem Umerov participated in the meeting via videolink. 

"Given the urgency of Ukraine's need for ammunition and air defense systems, Latvia supports any initiative that facilitates rapid military supplies to Ukraine - including military purchases on global markets," said Spruds.

Latvia will allocate 0.25 percent of its GDP to military aid to Ukraine annually until 2026.

On the development of the military industry, Spruds emphasized the need for the EU Peace Facility to support the various coalitions of the Ramstein format in support of Ukraine. Support from EU financial instruments to the coalitions would give an additional impetus to the development of the European military industry.

The drone coalition initiated by the Latvian defense aims both to support Ukraine in unmanned aerial vehicle and electronic warfare and to develop the Latvian drone industry. This year, at least EUR 10 million will be allocated to the coalition for Latvian-made drones.

Latvia joined the Czech-led joint procurement of artillery ammunition in March. Latvia will provide funding for the purchase of 155 mm rounds for a total amount of around EUR 10 million.

Latvia also informed the Foreign Affairs Council about the agreement with Ukraine on long-term support and security commitments, signed by the presidents of the two countries on April 11 on the sidelines of the Three Seas Initiative Summit in Vilnius. The agreement provides for comprehensive military and non-military assistance for Ukraine's defense against aggression, as well as support to Ukraine on its path to the membership of the EU and NATO.