In a recent telethon interview, Ukrainian Foreign Affairs Minister Dmytro Kuleba confirmed that the European Union was unable to fulfil its commitment to supply Kyiv with one million artillery shells by March 2024.
Responding to a question about a recent Bloomberg report on the EU's likely failure to meet its promise, the Minister acknowledged that the information was accurate.
“Unfortunately, Bloomberg is telling the truth. There are questions, and we, let's just say, beat the bells a lot and loudly,” he said.
Kuleba clarified that the delay is not a result of a lack of political will within the EU but attributed it to the “deplorable state of the defense industry” and a number of bureaucratic challenges.
Even though he accepted that the EU nations were making considerable efforts to address these issues, he emphasized his view that the bloc needs to act “faster.”
“And we really appreciate the support of the European Union here, but we will push them. Because, again, there is a Ukrainian infantryman on the front standing before my eyes, and he needs shells,” the Foreign Minister said.
Later Tuesday, German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius, speaking at the summit of EU defence ministers, also confirmed that the EU will not reach its goal of supplying 1 million artillery shells to Ukraine by March.
"We have to assume that the 1 million will not be achieved," he said.
EU's foreign and security policy chief Josep Borrell suggested defence firms should send more ammunition to Ukraine and export less to other countries to address the issue.
"Keep in mind European defence industry is exporting a lot — about 40 per cent of the production is being exported to third countries," Borrell told reporters before the meeting.
The EU initially pledged to provide Ukraine with one million artillery shells within 12 months in March 2023, initially by utilizing existing stocks and later through joint contracts and increased industrial capacity.
However, recent reports by Bloomberg and other international media had revealed that the European Foreign Policy Service acknowledged its inability to meet the required number of deliveries by the beginning of spring next year. According to the report, Ukraine has currently only received 30% of the planned ammunition deliveries.
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