Brussels plans to send military instructors to Ukraine when "circumstances allow" | International

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Brussels plans to take a significant quantitative leap in its support policy for Ukraine. As Russia's war has passed 500 days, the European External Action Service (EEAS) plans to increase efforts to strengthen Ukraine's air defenses and co-finance advanced weapons systems by member states. "Including missiles and combat aircraft," says the European diplomatic service in an internal document to which EL PAÍS has had access. The report analyzes the formulas for "security compromises" that the EU can reach with Ukraine, as the leaders of the Twenty-seven proposed to consider at the last European Council, at the end of June. The document also proposes extending the European mission to train Ukrainian troops and personnel, which is now based in Poland and Germany -although several more partners contribute-, and even "relocate" it to Ukraine gradually "when circumstances allow".

Like the invitation to Ukraine to join NATO—agreed by the allies in Vilnius, somewhat vague by making it conditional on “when circumstances allow”—the EEAS uses the same term to propose sending military instructors to Ukraine. That caution suggests that it will be after the war, but does not specify.

The analysis of the EEAS, a department headed by the High Representative for Foreign Policy and Defense, Josep Borrell, coincides with the decision of the members of the G-7, the most industrialized democracies in the world together with the EU, to sign a declaration on Wednesday joint venture to offer "security compromises and arrangements" to Ukraine. A declaration that has also been joined by the EU, on the margins of the NATO summit in Vilnius, and other non-member countries of the G-7, such as Spain.

Now it is a matter of filling in that joint declaration, in which Ukraine also commits to making reforms, with bilateral agreements that seek to shield the invaded country and guarantee that the weapons continue to arrive. The EEAS analyzes what elements can be offered in these "security commitments". And he points out: "Ukraine's membership of the EU would in itself be a security commitment."

“Ukraine will continue to need the long-term commitment and support of the EU to secure its free and democratic European future,” the EEAS internal document says, “especially in a scenario where Russia is unlikely to abandon its goal of subjugating to Ukraine, and Ukraine cannot stop defending itself." Brussels highlights that this year the support in the form of equipment through the European Peace Fund (EPF) will exceed 4,000 million euros, and ensures that there has been a "gradual change" towards the acquisition and joint purchase of new equipment. Also that there has been progress towards the supply, by the Member States, of more sophisticated and expensive weapons systems, which the EU has later covered through reimbursement systems (only a part).

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Russia's war in Ukraine is also a logistical battle, and in the "security commitments", in addition to the continuous exchange of intelligence (of the Member States) and satellite images, Brussels also proposes collaborations such as "special support for the maintenance and the repair of donated equipment”, support for demining and also support for cyber security, to fight against hybrid threats, misinformation and interference, and the manipulation of foreign information.

“These commitments [de seguridad] they will be assumed in full respect of the security and defense policy of certain Member States and taking into account the security and defense interests of all Member States”, says the internal EEAS document, referring to neutral partners, such as Ireland.

"The EU is already one of the main contributors to the immediate and long-term security and resilience of Ukraine through military assistance, financial, commercial and economic support," says the EEAS, which includes in the analysis of possible commitments security measures that are already underway, such as financial support for Kiev to keep the country afloat and other elements, such as the reception of refugees and displaced persons.

Among the commitments already underway, Brussels highlights aid for "reconstruction, the accession process to the European Union and the promotion of reforms, as well as restrictive measures [sanciones a Rusia]support for accountability mechanisms and disclosure to third countries”.

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