Ireland has contributed €55 million worth of military aid to Ukraine since the Russia invasion seven months ago.
This represents Ireland’s “full share” of the €2.5 billion military aid package provided to Ukraine through the EU, according to figures from the Department of Defence.
The funding is delivered through the European Peace Facility (EPF). Much of the European Defence Fund (EDF) goes toward offensive weapons to aid Ukraine resist and turn back the Russia invasion, which began in February.
However, under a pre-existing agreement, Irish funds are used exclusively for non-lethal military assistance. The 2020 Programme for Government committed to not funding lethal weapons through the EPF, except for peacekeeping purposes.
Irish money, along with money from Malta and Austria, goes into a discreet stream of EDF funding which is used for the purchase of items such as body armour, medical supplies and rations for Ukraine’s military.
As part of the Government’s commitment to the EPF, 5,000 “ready-to-eat” meals and 200 units of body armour were provided to Ukraine’s military last March from Defence Forces stocks. “This practical assistance is a further tangible demonstration of Ireland’s support for and solidarity with the people of Ukraine,” said a department spokeswoman. She also pointed to logistical, housing and civil defence support provided to Ukrainian refugees who have arrived here since the start of the conflict.
Established in 2021 the EPF creates a provision for up to €5 billion in EU funding “to provide all types of equipment and infrastructure to the armed forces of EU partners, in compliance with international human rights law and international humanitarian law”.
The funding comes from outside the EU budget and is decided on a case-by-case basis over a seven-year term.
At the start of the war the EU committed €500 million from the fund to assist Ukraine. This has been increased on five occasions since. About half of the EDF’s seven-year budget has been spent on Ukraine in the last seven months and more increases are expected.
Some of the funding has been used to reimburse EU countries that have sent their own military equipment to Ukraine.
A decision will be made early next year on increasing the maximum budget of the EPF in the event it is exceeded as a result of the war.
Ireland has also committed to assisting with a proposed EU training mission for Ukrainian troops. The training will take place in an EU country outside Ukraine and the Defence Forces is expected to contribute a small number of personnel.