Ukraine, EU will not deliver all ammunition by March

The goal of one million ammunition for Kiev’s artillery will not be achieved

The European Union and its member states will miss the target announced by the Commission of delivering one million artillery ammunition to Ukraine, at war with Russia, by the end of March 2024. This is the confirmation that emerged during today’s press briefing in Brussels, during which the spokespersons of the EU executive received numerous questions on the topic. What the Commission announced, said Internal Market spokeswoman Johanna Bernsel, was a “political objective”. A political objective that will be missed, while Russia, whose military-industrial apparatus has taken seriously the production objectives that the ongoing war requires, continues to bomb the Ukrainians.

The Commission, explained Bernsel, is confident that “the EU’s production capacity will reach 1 million ammunition” per year. The problem is that an important part of the European production of heavy ammunition is exported by the industries, which are “private” companies, as the spokesmen remind us, although in reality hardly a company that operates in such a highly regulated sector and whose customers are essentially public entities can afford to ignore the will of their government. Foreign Affairs spokesman Peter Stano recalled that the “political” objective had been set “by the member states”, who do “what they can” to try to achieve it. “It’s an ongoing effort: we need to see the effort in other fields too, not just on ammunition.”

Stano reiterated that the EU will continue to support Ukraine “for as long as necessary”. So far, he has continued reporting figures updated to last December, “over 300 thousand artillery ammunition” and “3,200 missiles” were delivered to Ukraine by EU countriescoming from existing stocks and from the “re-prioritisation of orders”, which was the “first pillar” of the strategy announced by High Representative Josep Borrell.

To date, “there are over twenty framework contracts” signed, which should allow the delivery of another “180 thousand” heavy ammunition to Ukraine. For the spokesperson, “if Russia increases its production capacity” of ammunition, we must be able to do the same, if not exceed it”. The spokespersons did not deny, however, that at the end of next March the EU states should end up delivering less than half of the million rounds of ammunition promised to Kiev months ago.