BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union’s top diplomat criticized Monday the bloc’s slow pace of action in setting up a military training mission for the Ukrainian armed forces, as foreign ministers prepare to discuss the plan next week.

“We had been discussing about the Ukrainian training mission before the war. Before the war. For months, for months before the war,” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell told a conference of the 27-nation bloc’s ambassadors.

“Then the war comes and people said, ‘Oh, we should have done it. Yeah, we should have done it. And now we are doing it quickly.’ Well, quickly. For the standards of European standards,” Borrell said to laughter from the envoys. “Quickly for the European standard means a couple of months.”

EU foreign ministers are scheduled to discuss the training mission at talks in Brussels on Oct. 17, almost eight months after Russia launched the war. Several EU and NATO member nations are already helping to train the Ukraine armed forces on a bilateral basis.

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