EU will fail to deliver 1 million artillery shells to Ukraine by March deadline

The EU is lagging far behind on its artillery support for Ukraine, but production is expected to ramp up by the end of the year

editor: REMIX NEWS
author: Denes Albert
(AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

The European Union will not meet its target of delivering 1 million artillery shells to Ukraine by March, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell said in Brussels on Wednesday.

Speaking at a press conference following an informal meeting of EU defense ministers, Borrell recalled that last year member states agreed to supply Ukraine with 1 million rounds of artillery ammunition, but so far only 330,000 have been delivered to the war-torn country.

European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell rings a bell to signify the start of a meeting of EU foreign ministers at the European Council building in Brussels, Monday, Jan. 22, 2024. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

The EU’s top diplomat expressed the hope that 524,000 shells would be delivered by March, a little more than 52 percent of the target. He said that some 630,000 new rounds were being produced, with the target of 1 million expected to be reached by the end of the year, according to Hungarian news outlet Magyar HIrlap.

The EU official welcomed the fact that member states have so far provided €28 billion in military aid to Kyiv, but stressed the urgent need to agree on further military support for Ukraine in the short and long term.

Borrell said that the EU military mission had succeeded in training almost 40,000 Ukrainian soldiers, a positive trend. He added that the aim is to train 60,000 soldiers by the end of the summer.

He pointed out that EU artillery ammunition production capacity had increased by 40 percent since the start of the war in Ukraine.

“Our current ammunition production capacity is close to 1 million rounds of ammunition per year, but it is expected to reach 1.4 million by the end of the year. And it will grow even further because we have mobilized the industry (as) there is demand,” Borrell said.

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