Lithuania president heads to EU summit on further aid to Ukraine, defense industry

  • 2024-03-21
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS – Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda on Thursday is heading to Brussels for a two-day EU summit to discuss further support to Ukraine and the continent's future defense industry strategy.

On the eve of the summit, the European Commission, as promised, disbursed the first tranche of 4.5 billion euros under the EU's new 50-billion-euro Ukraine Facility.

"Into the third year of Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine, we face a pivotal moment. Urgency, intensity and unwavering determination are imperative," European Council President Charles Michel said in his invitation letter.

On Thursday, EU leaders are expected to discuss a new plan to use frozen Russian assets for Ukraine's needs.

Josep Borrell, the bloc's foreign policy chief, said on Wednesday that the European Council would discuss on Thursday how to speed up Ukraine's EU accession process.

EU leaders are also expected to discuss the European Defense Industry Strategy and the European Defense Industry Program.

Nauseda and leaders of 13 other countries have recently signed a joint letter to the prime minister of Belgium, which currently holds the rotating EU presidency, and the presidents of the European Council and the European Investment Bank (EIB) on the need to increase investment in the defense sector.

Other topics on the summit's agenda include the unfolding situation in the Middle East, enlargement, external relations, migration, agriculture and the European Semester.