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EU council agrees 5 billion euro top-up for Ukraine's armed forces

Aftermath of a Russian missile attack in Mykolaiv

BRUSSELS (Reuters) -The Council of the European Union on Monday ratified an agreement to increase the EU's support for Ukraine's armed forces by 5 billion euros ($5.44 billion) through a dedicated assistance fund.

"With the fund, we will continue to support Ukraine defend itself from Russia's war of aggression with whatever it takes and for as long as we need to," EU's foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said in a statement.

The cash injection comes amid warnings that Kyiv's forces need more resources to be able to hold the line against a larger Russian army and as a $60 billion package for Ukraine is being held up by U.S. Congress.

The European Union said the money would fund training and both lethal and non-lethal military gear. It will also be used to refund member states for military supplies sent to Ukraine, Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski told reporters after the meeting.

"I'd like to thank everybody who has contributed to this," he said.

The 5 billion euro top-up approved on Monday means the fund's ceiling is now set at 17 billion euros for the 2021-2027 period, the council said in the same statement.

Ambassadors of the EU's 27 member countries agreed to the additional funds last week.

The council also approved rules to make joint procurement of military supplies from EU and Norwegian defence contractors.

($1 = 0.9184 euros)

(Reporting by Inti Landauro, Editing by Charlotte Van Campenhout, Toby Chopra and Christina Fincher)