The EU could train 15,000 Ukrainian soldiers and finance more weapons for kyiv

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European Union foreign ministers are expected to agree a mission to train 15,000 Ukrainian soldiers starting next month and additional funding of 500 million euros for arms supplies to kyiv when they meet on Monday in Luxembourg.

The ministers are also likely to impose additional sanctions on Iran over Tehran’s latest crackdown on protesters, and to take a fresh look at the bloc’s relations with China, paving the way for a potentially tougher stance with Beijing.

Two senior EU officials said the military training would start in mid-November and take place on EU territory at a center in Poland and another in Germany.

Several EU countries have already instructed Ukrainian troops in the use of specific weapons and this will continue.

The European Union has supported kyiv since the start of the war with financial and, for the first time in the bloc, military aid.

Foreign ministers will agree to add another 500 million euros ($486 million) to a fund that reimburses EU member states for arms delivered to Ukraine, bringing the total amount earmarked for arms to kyiv to more than 3,000 million euros.

Unlike previous tranches, the additional money will also cover repair and maintenance costs for weapons already delivered to Ukraine.

SANCTIONS ON IRAN

EU ministers are expected to impose travel bans and asset freezes on some 15 Iranians involved in the crackdown on protesters in Iran, who took to the streets after the death in police custody of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini.

EU foreign ministers will also discuss the transfer of Iranian drones to Russia, opening the way for possible new sanctions that could be agreed later.

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As for China, the ministers will look at how to balance relations, the officials said, noting that Beijing is a crucial trading partner for the EU and that Europe is dependent on Chinese products and raw materials.

Diplomats say Brussels is concerned that Chinese President Xi Jinping is leading China down an increasingly authoritarian path, and concerned about Xi’s support for Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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