Belgium, (Brussels Morning Newspaper) EU foreign ministers agreed to send an additional 2 billion euros to a fund to buy weapons for Ukraine, noting that the fund is largely depleted.
Josep Borrell, High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, pointed out that ministers may agree on additional top-ups in the coming period, according to Reuters reported on Monday.
“Today’s decision will ensure that we have the funding to continue delivering concrete military support to our partners’ armed forces,” he stressed.
Ministers also prepared the ground for sending troops to Niger as part of a three-year mission to help the country improve its infrastructure and logistics. According to the plan, the bloc would initially send 50 to 100 troops and gradually increase the number to up to 300.
Ministers warned that violence from neighboring Mali could spill over to Niger, pointing out that jihadists are gaining ground in the wake of the withdrawal of European forces.
In addition, EU foreign ministers agreed on new sanctions against Iran over the crackdown on protests and delivery of combat drones to Russia.
Borrell stressed that the bloc “will take any action we can to support young women and peaceful demonstrators.”
Earlier on Monday, Iran executed a second person involved in protests against the government.
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock noted “with this sanctions package, we are targeting, in particular, those who are responsible for the executions, the violence against innocent people… these are especially the [Islamic] Revolutionary Guard [Corps].”
The latest package of sanctions targets one entity and 20 individuals over violation of human rights, and four more entities and as many individuals over drone deliveries to Russia.
The ministers stressed in a statement that “the EU strongly condemns the widespread, brutal and disproportionate use of force by the Iranian authorities against peaceful protesters, including women and children, leading to the loss of hundreds of lives.”
On the drone delivery issue, they pointed out that “weapons provided by Iran are being used indiscriminately by Russia against Ukrainian civilian population and infrastructure causing horrendous destruction and human suffering.”
Tehran noted that it delivered a small number of combat drones to Russia before the start of the war in Ukraine, while Moscow denied it used the drones to attack Ukraine.