European Union leaders are expected to give their approval Thursday for a plan to speed ammunition deliveries to Ukrainian forces fighting a Russian invasion.
The $2 billion plan was endorsed earlier this week by EU foreign and defense ministers. It calls for both sending ammunition from existing stocks and for EU countries to work together to place new orders for more rounds.
Ukrainian leaders have told Western allies that Ukraine’s military has an urgent need for more ammunition, especially 155-millimeter shells.
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is due to join the EU leaders for a lunch meeting Thursday, with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy scheduled to give a later video address.
Thursday’s session comes a day after Ukrainian authorities said new Russian drone and missile attacks killed at least seven people in two cities.
EU foreign policy chief Joseph Borrell used a Thursday tweet to highlight Russian President Vladimir Putin’s expression of support for a Chinese-drafted peace plan in Ukraine, placing Putin’s hosting of Chinese President Xi Jinping this week alongside the Russian attacks.
“Ukraine has been attacked again by Russia with Iranian drones, targeting educational facilities & a missile attack on a residential building in Zaporizhzhia,” Borrell said. “Just when Putin expressed need for ‘peaceful settlement’ to President Xi, Russian again commits war crimes.”
Putin on Tuesday praised Xi’s peace plan to end the Ukraine war, although it does not call for withdrawal of Russian troops as Zelenskyy has demanded before peace talks can start.
The United States, Ukraine’s chief arms supplier, has rejected China’s peace plan because it would leave Russian territorial gains in eastern Ukraine in place.
"A cease-fire right now, freezing the lines where they are, basically gives [Putin] the time and space he needs to try to re-equip, to re-man, to make up for that resource expenditure," White House national security spokesman John Kirby said.
Some material in this report came from The Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters.