Ireland to fund provision of non-lethal equipment to Ukrainian military

Protective, medical and other items part of wider EU package agreed by member states

Ireland is to provide medical supplies, body armour, fuel and other non-lethal material to the Ukrainian military to aid in its defence against Russia.

The move is part of a broader EU decision to provide Ukraine with military supplies to fight off the invasion.

For the first time the EU will finance the purchase of lethal weaponry for a third country, a momentous change in the Union’s foreign policy, it announced on Sunday.

The total value of the EU package will be worth €500 million, of which €50 million will be spent on non-lethal supplies.


Ireland will pay 1.9 per cent of the €500 billion figure, translating to €9 million. As well as purchasing body armour and fuel, the funds will be used for blood supplies. Transfusion centres have been set up in Poland and funds are required to pay for storage and transportation.

In line with Ireland’s policy of military non-alignment, Irish funds will not be used for offensive weaponry. Instead, Ireland will provide funding to a specific stream for the purchase of non-lethal equipment.

This will include “personal protective equipment, medical kits, and fuel”, a Government source said on Sunday.

“In line with the commitment in the Programme for Government, Ireland will constructively abstain from lethal equipment elements and will not contribute financially to that aspect.

“Instead, we will provide a corresponding contribution to the provision of non-lethal support.”

He said a number of other EU members, including Austria and Malta, are likely to take the same approach. It is understood supplies will not be sent directly from Irish military stocks and will instead be purchased specifically to send to Ukraine’s military.

Although Ireland is not directly funding the purchase of lethal equipment, the move marks a significant shift in Irish foreign policy. For the first time an Irish government will directly fund another country’s military at a time of war.

In a speech on Sunday afternoon, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell Fontelles, said the Union’s military staff will coordinate with the Ukrainian armed forces to determine their exact needs.

“Another taboo has fallen,” he said of the decision which has been agreed by all EU member states.

Other countries including the UK, Sweden and Belgium have already agreed to bilaterally supply Ukraine with arms.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin said earlier on Sunday that Ireland plans to do everything in its power to help persons impacted by the humanitarian crisis unfolding in the Ukraine and raised the possibly of deploying Irish personnel.

Conor Gallagher

Conor Gallagher

Conor Gallagher is Crime and Security Correspondent of The Irish Times