European support to Ukraine’s defence against Russia

Participants:Belgium, Denmark, France, Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, UK, Ukraine
Topic:Security & Peace
Summit:2nd summit - Moldova, 3rd summit - Spain
Date:1 June 2023
Type:Verbal declaration
Pre-existing arrangement:Ramstein Format, ongoing NATO Partnership arrangements, among others

2nd summit – Moldova

Belgium, Denmark, Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, UK, and Ukraine discussed training for Ukrainian pilots and future aircraft deliveries, including the necessary infrastructure and maintenance. The UK and the Netherlands considered providing jets to Ukraine, the initial pillars of a Ukrainian “sky shield”, while other members of the coalition have agreed to train Ukrainian pilots.

Considering the significance MIM-104 Patriot surface-to-air missile (SAM) systems for Ukraine’s territorial defence, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte also proposed to establish and then expand a coalition of Patriot missile system suppliers in Europe, which should subsequently help to provide more Patriot systems to Ukraine. 

In the context of parallel consultations with the US and other willing countries (such as those above), the France and Ukraine pledged to work together in order to prepare formal decision on concrete scope and the mechanisms of the training of pilots and technical staff.


During the July 2023 NATO summit in Vilnius, the defence ministers of Belgium, Denmark, Luxembourg (new), the Netherlands, Norway (new), Poland, Portugal (new), Romania (new), Sweden, the United Kingdom (as well as non-EPC Canada) issued a joint statement on F-16 training of the Ukrainian Air Forces. The countries agreed to train the Ukrainian armed forces in operating and maintaining F-16 fighters. The coalition may also expand the training to other types of fighter jets at a later stage.  

In August 2023, the Netherlands and Denmark stated they will provide F-16 fighter jets to the Ukrainian armed forces, with deliveries set for January 2024 and training for pilots ongoing in Denmark and Romania.

In September 2023, Ukraine and France stated they had come to an agreement on training pilots in France, presumably operating Rafale and Mirage aircraft, laying the groundwork for a future in which France would provide the Ukrainian armed forces with jets too.

Despite concerns over ongoing stalling of its NATO accession bid, Sweden provided training to Ukrainian pilots in the use of its Gripen fighter jets in September 2023, suggesting jets will soon be provided to the Ukrainian armed forces.

3rd summit – Spain

At the third EPC summit, EU repesentatives and EU member states (e.g., Finland, Spain, France, Germany) re-affirmed their political intent to continue support to Ukraine’s defence of its territorial integrity against Russia. Furthermore, Spain and Ukraine discussed further bilateral cooperation to protect the Black Sea “grain corridor”.