The European Union (EU) is facing difficulties in fulfilling its commitment to supply Ukraine with one million artillery shells by next spring, according to Bloomberg. This ammunition deal, described by the EU’s top diplomat Josep Borrell as “historic,” was agreed upon in March of this year. The plan included the delivery of artillery shells to Ukraine over a twelve-month period by utilizing the EU’s stockpiles and placing joint orders.
However, Bloomberg’s sources and documents suggest that the EU has fallen short of meeting its target. Despite more than six months passing since the agreement, the EU has only delivered 30% of the promised amount. Based on the volume of contracts, it is likely that the bloc’s members will fail to provide Ukraine with the one million shells by the March deadline. Consequently, several EU nations have privately requested an extension of the deadline from Brussels.
The United States, which is also attempting to increase its ammunition output to support Ukraine, has reportedly urged the EU to accelerate its efforts in fulfilling this commitment.
Although EU nations have refrained from publicly disclosing specific details of deliveries and contracts, some figures have been shared privately during closed-door meetings. Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, and the Baltic states are among the dozen countries that have delivered or are planning to deliver a combined total of approximately 300,000 to 400,000 shells. Moreover, other countries have placed orders worth over $50 million, with production scheduled to commence next year.
Media reports in recent months have indicated that both the US and the EU have encountered challenges in providing Ukraine with much-needed ammunition for its counteroffensive against Russia. However, Russia has not gained any significant ground thus far.
Concerns about reduced aid to Ukraine from Western supporters have been compounded by the decision of US President Joe Biden to exclude Ukraine assistance from a funding bill in order to avoid a government shutdown earlier this month. Additionally, one source cited by Bloomberg did not exclude the possibility that the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict could also impact the volume of aid to Ukraine.
Russia has consistently cautioned against Western military aid to Ukraine, asserting that it would only prolong the conflict and make it a direct participant in the hostilities.