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BRUSSELS: The European Union is drawing up plans to set up a 20-billion-euro ($22 billion) fund to be spent over four years to help Ukraine defeat the Russian invasion, diplomats said Thursday.

Arriving at a Brussels minister of EU foreign ministers, Brussels’ foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said he could not give a figure for the fund before member states had discussed it.

“So we will discuss how to continue supporting Ukraine in the long run, long run security commitments and guarantees to Ukraine from our side,” Borrell told reporters.

“We presented a plan in order to ensure financial support for Ukraine from the next year, which will amount to quite an important amount of money. I hope the ministers will support it.”

A Brussels diplomatic source told AFP that the military aid being discussed was five billion euros per year over four years – 2024 to 2027 – even if discussions were in the “early stages”.

The plan will come up at Thursday’s talks, he said, but more detailed debate will take place on August 31 at the EU foreign ministers meeting in the Spanish city of Toledo.

Some member states, notably Moscow’s best friend in the EU Hungary, may oppose the idea, and final political approval is not expected until European leaders meet at EU summits in October or even December.

Germany’s Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock did not dispute the 20-billion figure when asked.

“For this we need very, very large financial resources, for further support of Ukraine in the military area, in order to be able to implement its right to self-defence,” she said.

“It all has to go hand-in-hand. It’s not enough to just throw numbers around, it has to be logically and meaningfully interlinked and we’re going to talk about that today, but also in the coming months.”

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