Belgium to send bulletproof vests and generators to Ukraine
The Belgian federal government gave the green light on Friday for the 19th package of defence assistance to Ukraine, Defence minister Ludivine Dedonder announced. The new package is mainly limited to "ballistic protection kits and a large number of generators", to be sent to Ukraine as soon as possible.
The ballistic protection kits, i.e. bullet-proof vests, are intended to protect the Ukrainian population and soldiers. The equipment, along with the generators, will arrive "at the express request of Ukraine", Dedonder said.
The Council of Ministers also approved an "interdepartmental provision" for Ukraine, meaning 514.2 million euros can be spent in 2024 for continued support. There will be a first tranche of 428.7 million euros, with a second tranche of 85.5 million to be released in April.
Since Russia's invasion of Ukraine almost two years ago, Belgium has shown its support by participating in the international F-16 coalition (it has pledged to supply F-16s to Ukraine in 2025), developing a mechanism to trace Russian diamonds and setting up a support fund indirectly financed by interest on frozen Russian assets. It has also supplied generators and recently allocated 2.5 million euros to install solar panels on the roofs of Ukrainian hospitals.
Several Ukrainian officials have visited the country in the run-up to Belgium's EU presidency, which begins in January. In October, president Volodymyr Zelensky made a surprise visit to Brussels.
Defence minister Ludivine Dedonder © BELGA PHOTO JASPER JACOBS