The European Union will fail to supply Ukraine with a million artillery shells and missiles by next March, as it promised to do this year, the German Defense Minister said on Tuesday. Boris Pistorius, ahead of a meeting with his European counterparts in Brussels.
Boris Pistorius is the first European minister to publicly acknowledge that this objective, set last March, would not be achieved. Diplomats and officials have already privately expressed skepticism in recent months.
Brussels had committed to supplying these munitions to meet an urgent and ongoing demand from Kyiv, as 155-millimeter artillery shells have become crucial for the Ukrainian army in its fight against the Russian invasion.
“I didn’t promise a million rounds of ammunition, and that was on purpose. The real question to ask is whether a target of one million was realistic,” Boris Pistorius told journalists.
“Voices had warned: ‘it’s easy to say a million, the money is there, (but) production must follow’. These warnings turn out to be true, unfortunately,” he added.
Several representatives have said in the past that European industry does not have sufficient production capacity to meet the target.
But some also felt that it was positive to set an ambitious objective in order to encourage countries to place orders and companies to invest in their production capacities.
Other European defense ministers were not as fatalistic as Boris Pistorius upon their arrival in Brussels, but did not contradict the German minister.
The head of European diplomacy, Josep Borrell, indicated that the EU had supplied Ukraine with more than 300,000 artillery shells and missiles as part of a first phase of this program, which provided for each member state to deliver ammunition from its own stocks.
He added that the second phase was now the focus – new orders placed by European countries as part of the agreement sealed in Brussels. Orders for some 180,000 shells have been placed so far, he said.
Josep Borrell said Brussels was retaining the target of one million munitions, although admitting that it might not be reached. “It’s ambitious but it remains our objective and we continue to push in this direction (…) to deliver more quickly and more ammunition,” he said.
This article is originally published on chretiens.info