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EU leaders know of Ukraine’s ‘existential’ need for aid – senior official

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By Gabriela Baczynska

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – European Union leaders are conscious of how “existential” financial aid is to Ukraine and will honour their commitments, a senior official said on Friday, less than a week before a summit where billions in aid for Kyiv hang in balance.

Ahead of the year’s final summit of EU leaders in Brussels on Dec. 14-15, Hungary has threatened to veto a proposal for the bloc to grant 50 billion euros in budget aid to Kyiv through 2027, and another one to start membership talks with Ukraine.

Failure to deliver on those promises would be seen as a major political blow in Ukraine, exhausted from fighting against a large-scale Russian military invasion since February, 2022.

With most of Ukraine’s revenue going to finance the war, the country relies heavily on economic assistance from the West to keep going.

“We know how existential it is. European leaders are responsible people – at least 26,” said the official who is involved in preparing the summit. “They will stick to their commitments.”

Should Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban veto a proposed review of the bloc’s long-term budget that includes the 50 billion euros for Ukraine, the official listed possible workarounds.

The official said either the other 26 EU countries could agree to extend their national contributions bilaterally to Kyiv, a more complicated and expensive option than going through the bloc’s shared coffers.

Alternatively, a smaller amount to cover a shorter period could be allocated from the bloc’s budget as it stands, said the official, without the approval of the broader review.

As part of that review, the bloc’s executive has asked member countries to chip in some 60 billion euros in fresh funds to finance Ukraine, migration and other issues.

(Reporting by Gabriela Baczynska)

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