The European Union’s goal of supplying 1 million artillery shells to Ukraine by March of next year may not be met, according to a report by Bloomberg. The EU had promised to increase ammunition deliveries through direct transfers and agreements with private industry. However, the progress of the ammunition drive appears to be lagging, as reported by unnamed sources familiar with the discussions, who informed member states through the European External Action Service, the EU’s foreign policy wing. Despite vowing to provide hundreds of thousands of 155-millimeter shells to Kiev earlier this year, and striving to reach 1 million by March 2024, the EU has so far only delivered 30% of that figure, as reported by Bloomberg.
The proposal called for initial shipments to be drawn directly from the stocks of EU member states, followed by signing contracts to procure shells from arms manufacturers, with an expected cost of €2 billion. However, with only a few months remaining before the deadline, there is uncertainty surrounding whether the target can be achieved. This issue will be addressed at an upcoming EU defense ministers’ meeting, where officials will also discuss additional security aid worth billions for Ukraine. Some EU members have reportedly been hesitant to provide details about their ammunition stocks, and the bloc may request more information soon to determine whether it can meet its goal.
Throughout the conflict with Moscow, Ukrainian forces have depleted substantial supplies of shells and other military equipment, repeatedly urging foreign sponsors to provide more arms and ammunition. However, despite Western support, Kiev’s summer counteroffensive failed to achieve its objectives, with the Russian Defense Ministry estimating more than 90,000 Ukrainian troops, as well as over 55 tanks and 1,900 armored vehicles, lost since June. The EU has allocated a total of €83 billion in military, economic, and humanitarian aid to Ukraine since Russia’s military operation began in February 2022, according to the European Commission.
Moscow has argued that Western nations have become de facto participants in the conflict by offering arms, intelligence-sharing, and training to Ukrainian troops. It has described the conflict as a US-led proxy war against Russia, in which Ukrainians are used as “cannon fodder.”
The shortfall in ammunition deliveries to Ukraine highlights the ongoing challenges in the region and raises concerns about the effectiveness of foreign aid in the face of a protracted conflict. Navigating the complex dynamics between international stakeholders and addressing the urgent humanitarian needs of Ukrainians remain crucial in the quest for sustainable peace and stability in the region. As the EU strives to meet its commitments to Ukraine, the situation underscores the importance of comprehensive diplomatic, economic, and security strategies to address the multifaceted issues arising from the conflict.