EU countries agree to jointly buy arms for Ukraine — RT World News
Member states have pledged to send a total of one million artillery shells to Kyiv over the next 12 months
Eighteen EU countries have agreed to tap into their artillery stockpiles and jointly purchase more shells in order to be able to supply 1 million rounds to Ukraine over the next 12 months.
The deal was finalized at a meeting of EU foreign and defense ministers on Monday. Ukraine’s Western allies are racing to ensure Kiev has the ammunition it needs to fight Russian forces after NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg warned last month that the conflict was consuming ammunition at a rate “several times higher than our current production rate.”
“We are taking a key step towards fulfilling our promises to provide Ukraine with more artillery ammunition,” Head of EU foreign policy Joseph Borell said Monday. He added that orders for 155 millimeter shells would be pooled and expedited through the EU Defense Agency.
The plan approved on Monday was based on Borrell’s proposal earlier this month to provide 1 billion euros ($1.07 billion) in financial incentives from the EU to countries that pledged to exploit their stocks ammunition for Ukraine, as well as another €1 billion to help finance joint purchases. new shells.
Borrell claimed last month that Russian artillery forces were firing about 50,000 shells a day and that Ukraine did not have enough ammunition to match Moscow’s firepower. “This is the most urgent problem” he said at the time. “If we fail on this, the outcome of the war is in jeopardy.”
Even if the nations that signed Monday’s agreement are able to deliver on their promises, Estonian Defense Minister Hanno Pevkur told reporters in Brussels that “many, many details” are not yet resolved – 1 million rounds would only last 20 days at the rate of fire quoted by Borrell. US officials have estimated that Ukraine is currently firing between 4,000 and 7,000 shells a day.
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german politician Michael Gahlermember of the European Parliament, described the joint ammunition purchase agreement for Ukraine as “Good initiative, albeit late.” He added, “We lost time, too much time last year because the reality was that many member states, including my own, remained too passive for too long despite strong verbal commitments… We have to deliver to Ukraine the time it will take for Ukraine. to win, and we need to replenish our stocks in time, as soon as possible, so that we can defend ourselves.
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Russian officials have repeatedly warned that sending weapons to Ukraine would prolong the bloodshed and risk escalating into a wider conflict.