The European Union’s ambitious pledge to provide Ukraine with one million artillery rounds by next March is facing considerable hurdles, with German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius acknowledging that the bloc will not be able to meet this target. This revelation has also been echoed by Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba.
Earlier this year, the European Union had promised to deliver one million artillery rounds to Ukraine within a 12-month timeframe by utilizing existing stocks and procuring additional shells from arms manufacturers. However, reports have surfaced indicating that the EU is falling behind schedule in fulfilling this commitment.
Speaking ahead of a meeting by EU defense chiefs in Brussels, Pistorius emphasized the unlikelihood of achieving the one-million-round milestone, citing inadequate production capacities in European nations. The minister explained that even if the economy were to be mobilized into a wartime mode, the ammunition output would not instantaneously become prolific enough to fulfill the pledge.
Pistorius admitted that he had been skeptical about the bloc’s target from the outset, expressing concerns about its ambitious nature. Kuleba, commenting on a report by Bloomberg, lamented the unfortunate truth that the EU would not be able to fulfill its promise.
The European Union is now confronted with the challenge of rectifying the situation regarding the shortage of artillery rounds. Pistorius stressed that while the EU is willing to deliver the promised number of shells in principle, it is hindered by the “pathetic state of the defense industry.” Kuleba indicated that Ukraine will insist on the need for a more rapid and substantial response from the EU.
According to a report by Bloomberg, the European External Action Service, the EU’s foreign policy wing, has informed member states about the lagging progress in meeting the ammunition pledge. The report alleges that with less than three months remaining before the deadline, the bloc has only provided 30% of the intended figure.
The inability of the European Union to fulfill its pledge to provide Ukraine with one million artillery rounds underlines the complexity of the conflict in Ukraine and the challenges faced by Western nations in their efforts to support the country’s defense capabilities. Russia has consistently argued that Western nations have effectively become parties to the conflict by providing military support to Ukraine. Moscow has emphasized that Western defense aid will not alter the course of the conflict and could escalate tensions between NATO and Russia.
The situation underscores the need for the European Union to address the shortcomings in its defense industry and work towards effective and timely support for Ukraine. It also highlights the geopolitical implications of the conflict in Ukraine and the delicate balance of power in the region. As the EU grapples with the challenges of meeting its commitments, it must consider the broader implications and consequences of its actions on the international stage.