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“EU will not be able to provide 1m ammunition to Kiev until spring” says German defense minister

That the EE will fail to deliver a million artillery shells and rockets to Ukraine until March 2024, as promised, German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius pointed out on Tuesday (14/11).

“It is safe to estimate that the one million target will not be reached”underlined Pistorius, as reported by the Athens News Agency upon his arrival in Brussels for the meeting of the defense ministers of the 27 EU countries.

These statements by the German minister are the first public admission by a high-ranking European official that the goal will not be achieved, although diplomats and officials have been privately expressing their reservations for months.

“There were voices warning”

I didn’t promise 1 million ammo and I did that on purpose. The right question to ask is whether a million was ever a realistic goalPistorius noted.

“There were voices warning: ‘You have to be careful, one million can be said easily, the money is available, but there must be production.’ Those voices turned out to be right, unfortunately,” he continued.

The EU has so far provided Ukraine with around 300,000 artillery shells and missiles from its stockpile under the first leg of its plan to help Kiev, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said.

About 40% of European production is exported to about 30 countries outside of Ukraine, Borrell revealed. “What we need to do is to shift production to our priority which is Ukraine, that will be a significant change,” he explained.

At the same time he added that now the EU is focusing on the second leg of its plan: ordering new shells through a joint initiative of member states.

According to Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton, European manufacturing capacity has increased by “almost 20 to 30%” since February. And consequently he estimated that it would be able to achieve its goal of producing one million rounds of ammunition by spring.

Estonian Defense Minister Hanno Pevkur said his country would offer 280 million euros to supply Ukraine with 155mm shells. But he pointed out that Kiev needs three million shells and missiles every year, while the EU currently produces 600,000 to 700,000 and perhaps a million next year.

The EU has already offered some €27 billion in military aid to Ukraine following Russia’s 2022 invasion.

In July Borrell proposed a fund of 20 billion euros over the next four years to facilitate the supply of arms to Ukraine, but many member states appeared reluctant to commit to that sum.

The head of European diplomacy announced last week that he will present before the end of the year a revised plan with European targets regarding aid to Ukraine, ahead of the summit of the 27 in mid-December.

Source: News Beast

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