June 16, 2024

Belgium agrees to send €977 million in military aid to Ukraine

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo signed a bilateral security and long-term support deal on Tuesday, including an agreement to send Kyiv €977 million in Belgian military aid this year.

“This will ensure Belgium’s commitment to providing our country with support over the course of the agreement’s ten-year term,” Zelenskysaid in a post on X on Tuesday.

“For the first time, such an agreement specifies the exact number of F-16 fighter jets — 30 — that will be delivered to Ukraine until 2028, with the first arriving already this year,” he added.

According to Zelensky, the agreement guarantees Belgium’s timely security assistance, modern armored vehicles, equipment to meet Ukraine’s air force and air defense needs, naval security, mine clearance, participation in the artillery ammunition coalition, and military training.

The deal also includes plans for defense industry cooperation, backing Ukraine’s Peace Formula, and reinforcing sanctions against Russia, among other provisions.

Belgian Prime Minister De Croo said Zelensky required “the right tools to protect his citizens.”

“We are very determined when it comes to our support,” he wrote in a post on X, “so we need to do more, better and faster.”

Zelensky was in the Belgian capital to shore up Western support for the war-battered Ukraine. He is also scheduled to visit a military airbase in the Belgian capital, where he will meet instructors helping to train Ukrainian pilots to fly US-made jets.

Belgium has pledged to supply fighter aircraft to Kyiv as part of a broader initiative by European allies and hopes to begin deliveries this year.

Zelensky’s Belgium visit comes a day after he traveled to Spain and successfully secured a Spanish pledge of additional air defense missiles. This will help fend off roughly 3,000 rockets and drones Russia fires at the country every month.

Despite the win, the Ukrainian leader said he still needs US-made Patriot air defenses to counter Kremlin attacks on the heavily-hit power grid and civilian areas.

“If we had these modern Patriot systems, (Russian) airplanes wouldn’t be able to fly close enough to drop the bombs on the civilian population and the military,” Zelensky said at a news conference in the Spanish capital.

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