The European Union on Thursday agreed to a deal that would give Ukraine about $54 billion at a pivotal moment in its war against Russia as aid from the United States, the largest donor to Ukraine, has dried up amid a congressional spending fight.
“All 27 leaders agreed on an additional €50 billion support package for Ukraine within the EU budget,” European Council President Charles Michel wrote Tuesday on X, formerly Twitter.
The EU had been struggling to allocate Ukraine with funding, worth about $54 billion, because Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who has a close relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin, had threatened for weeks to veto any financial support, per The Associated Press.
Michel also said the deal will provide Ukraine with “steadfast, long-term, predictable funding” and that the EU is taking “responsibility” to support the war-torn country. “We know what is at stake.”
Congress has passed four spending packages worth $113 billion in total following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the Center for Strategic & International Studies, a D.C.-based think tank, said in September. The United States has been the top donor to Ukraine since the war broke out.
Since October, President Joe Biden has been urging Congress to pass a funding bill worth more than $100 billion, including more than $60 billion for Ukraine. However, Congress has held up the deal over debates regarding funding for the U.S.-Mexico border.
Additionally, Ukraine has been under heavy scrutiny for its use of aid in the war. For example, the U.S. Defense Department said last month that as of summer 2023, officials have not kept an inventory of roughly $1 billion worth of specialized military equipment. Additionally, Ukraine uncovered an alleged scheme last week where high-ranking Ukrainian Defense Ministry officials conspired with arms supplier employees to embezzle nearly $40 million meant for the war effort.