EU’s Borrell urges long-range weapons for Ukraine

STOCKHOLM (AFP): EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell called on Saturday for European nations to provide long-range weapons for Ukraine to help it counter Russian strikes, while accelerating arms deliveries overall.

“The Russians are bombing from far away so the Ukrainians have to have the capacity to reach… the same distance, the same range,” Borrell said after a meeting with Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba in Stockholm.

“But we have to speed up,” he said, as Germany announced a new weapons package for Ukraine worth 2.7 billion euros ($2.95 billion), including tanks, armored vehicles and air-defense systems.

“I welcome the German effort and invite all member states to follow this example,” Borrell said.

On Thursday, Britain said it would send its Storm Shadow missiles to Ukraine, becoming the first country to provide longer-range weapons to Kyiv.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky has been urging Western allies to provide more advanced weapons ahead of a widely expected counter-offensive against Russian troops in eastern Ukraine.

“Instead of asking when will the counteroffensive begin, ask, have I done enough for the Ukrainian counter-offensive to begin and be successful?” Kuleba said at the press conference with Borrell.

“The main topics of my conversation with EU foreign ministers today will be a long-range artillery ammunition and short-range accession talks” to join the EU, Kuleba said.

Zelensky is seeking to accelerate the process for formal talks on EU membership for Ukraine in the wake of Russia’s invasion, launched in February 2022.