Written by Sebastian Clapp.
In a united response to Russia’s war on Ukraine, which started on 24 February 2022, EU Member States agreed to supply Ukraine with military equipment, including equipment designed to deliver lethal force. As of 16 May, Member States had agreed to make available €1.5 billion through the European Peace Facility (EPF) to fund assistance measures aimed at supporting the capabilities and resilience of the Ukrainian armed forces. A further €500 million in assistance was proposed on 13 May 2022 and is likely to be adopted very soon, bringing the amount up to €2 billion. Accordingly, the EPF will pay for some of the equipment Member States have provided or will provide to Ukraine. This is a first in the EU’s history, which has never jointly financed the provision of weapons to a third country.
Weapons and military aid pledged or delivered bilaterally by EU Member States: the issue of whether to supply Ukraine with heavy weapons (e.g. tanks) or light weapons (e.g. machine guns) or no weapons at all has sparked fierce debates in capitals across Europe. While countries such as Czechia, Poland and Slovenia have reportedly delivered heavy weaponry including T-72 tanks, others such as Austria and Ireland have decided to provide exclusively non-lethal equipment, in line with their policies of neutrality. So far, only Hungary, Malta and Cyprus have decided not to supply Ukraine with any military equipment at all. In addition to military equipment, many Member States have provided significant military aid. The graphic (Figure 1) and table (Annex I) below seek to provide an overview of the weapons and military aid (other than weapons deliveries) pledged or delivered bilaterally to Ukraine by Member States.
In order to coordinate supply and demand, the EU Military Staff within the European External Action Service have set up a clearing house mechanism, which coordinates supply and demand. Ukraine submits requests to this clearing house for the equipment needed. The requests are then checked, validated and matched with supply. Subsequently, each Member State delivers the available equipment and arms individually. These are predominantly taken from existing stocks, due to the urgent nature of the deliveries. Some of the military equipment that EU Member States have delivered to Ukraine may be eligible for reimbursement through the European Peace Facility – a new off-budget fund of €5.69 billion in current prices, operational since 1 July 2021. However, the process of validating Member States’ requests for reimbursement has not yet been finalised. Therefore, for the time being, it is not possible to establish the extent to which Member States will be reimbursed – through the EPF – for the military equipment/weapons they have delivered to Ukraine. Even if only some weapons will be reimbursed, the fact that they will be is groundbreaking, as it is the first time ever that the EU is financing the provision of weapons to a third country from a joint fund. According to EU High Representative Josep Borrell, this represents the breaking of a taboo.
On 1 March 2022, the European Parliament adopted a resolution calling for the EPF to be used to allocate significant additional funding to provide Ukraine with defensive military equipment and called for its immediate implementation. In a recent draft report, the Parliament noted that, on the follow-up of the adoption of the Strategic Compass, the EU must draw lessons from the use of the EPF in supporting Ukraine, increase its funding and build on the clearing house mechanism that was first implemented for Ukraine.
Disclaimer: The graphic (Figure I) and table (Annex I) below are non-exhaustive lists of weapons, non-lethal equipment and military aid delivered bilaterally to Ukraine by Member States, which have been compiled using exclusively open-source information. They do not in any way claim to represent a complete picture.
|Member State||Type of military equipment pledged or delivered to Ukraine Main source: Forum on the Arms Trade, if not specified otherwise|
|Austria||No weapons, but 10 000 helmets, fuel, protective equipment|
|Belgium||200 anti-tank weapons, 5 000 automatic rifles/machine guns and fuel|
|Bulgaria||No weapons, but bullet proof vests, helmets and medical supplies|
|Croatia||Rifles and machine guns, protective equipment|
|Czechia||T-72 tanks, infantry fighting vehicles, man-portable anti-aircraft weapons, 20 machine guns, 132 assault rifles, 70 submachine guns, 108 000 bullets, 4 000 mortars, 30 000 pistols, 7 000 assault rifles, 3 000 machine guns, sniper rifles|
|Cyprus||No weapons or military equipment, but medical supplies|
|Denmark||2 700 anti-tank weapons, 300 Stinger missiles, protective vests|
|Estonia||Javelin anti-tank missiles, nine howitzers, €220 million military aid|
|Finland||2 500 assault rifles, 150 000 cartridges, 1 500 single-shot anti-tank weapons|
|France||MILAN anti-tank guided missile systems, CAESAR artillery howitzers, plus unspecified defence equipment|
|Germany||50 Gepard anti-aircraft tanks, 56 infantry fighting vehicles, 1 000 anti-tank weapons, 500 Stinger missiles, armoured howitzers|
|Greece||Portable rocket launchers, ammunition, Kalashnikov rifles|
|Hungary||No weapons or military equipment, but medical supplies|
|Ireland||No weapons, but fuel, helmets, vests and medical supplies|
|Italy||Pending parliamentary approval – Stinger missiles, anti-tank weapons, heavy machine guns, light machine guns, counter-IED systems|
|Latvia||Stinger anti-aircraft missiles|
|Lithuania||Stinger anti-aircraft missiles and ammunition|
|Luxembourg||100 Next Generation Light Anti-Tank Weapons, Jeep Wrangler 4×4 vehicles, non-lethal equipment|
|Malta||No weapons or military equipment, but medical supplies|
|Netherlands||200 Stinger missiles, 3 000 combat helmets, 2 000 fragmentation vests, 100 sniper rifles, ammunition, 400 rocket-propelled grenade launchers|
|Poland||200+ T-72 tanks, Piorun man-portable air defence weapons, pledges to supply ammunition, further air defence systems, light mortars, and reconnaissance drones|
|Portugal||Grenades and ammunition, G3 automatic rifles, and other non-lethal equipment|
|Romania||Fuel, bulletproof vests, helmets, ammunition, military equipment and medical supplies|
|Slovakia||S-300 air defence system|
|Slovenia||T-72 tanks (reported), undisclosed amount of Kalashnikov rifles, helmets and ammunition|
|Spain||1 370 anti-tank grenade launchers, ammunition, light machine guns, medical supplies, helmets, flak jackets|
|Sweden||10 000 AT4 anti-tank weapons, helmets, and body shields|
Read this ‘at a glance’ on ‘Russia’s war on Ukraine: Bilateral delivery of weapons and military aid to Ukraine‘ in the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.