Germany’s defense minister on Tuesday said the EU’s plans to deliver 1 million artillery shells to Ukraine by spring 2024 could fail.
“The one million will not be reached. We have to assume that,” Boris Pistorius said at an EU defense ministers meeting in Brussels, citing insufficient production capacity.
Germany has made a large contribution to increasing capacities, but the production processes are “as they are,” he said.
Pistorius also made it clear that he always had doubts about the EU target set in March.
“I didn’t promise a million – not consciously,” he said. “Even before the decision, there were voices who said: ‘Be careful, a million is easy to decide on and the money is there – but the production has to be there.'”
The EU members had promised Ukraine on March 20 that they would provide 1 million new artillery shells for its war with Russia within 12 months. According to Borrell, only around 300,000 of the promised artillery shells have been delivered so far.
For his part, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said the problem was not industrial capacity.
The fact that there isn’t enough ammunition is because the companies are sending their products to other markets, he said, adding: “So perhaps we need to try to shift this production to the priority market, namely the Ukrainian one.”
EU Industry Commissioner Thierry Breton said the EU member states must ensure that production taking place on their territory is primarily destined for Ukraine. According to him, it should be possible to produce more than a million rounds of ammunition annually in the EU from spring onwards.
NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg also vowed to boost production. “Well, NATO allies are stepping up also when it comes to production. This is something we started to address last summer and allies, from the United States to the United Kingdom, but also EU allies, Germany and many others, are now increasing production,” he said.
“I just visited Germany over the weekend, and I’m encouraged by the messages that they are producing more but also investing in increased production capacity. And of course, the biggest ally is the United States, which has already made big investments in increased capacity.”
Source : aa