Brussels doesn’t have any more munitions to spare and must rely on domestic production, the bloc’s top diplomat has said
The militaries of EU member states have already supplied Ukraine with all the ammunition they could find in existing stockpiles, so now the bloc has to rely wait to produce more, the bloc’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said on Tuesday.
The top diplomat made the remarks ahead of the Foreign Affairs Council meeting, when pressed on the EU’s pledge to supply a million artillery shells to Kiev by March 2024.
“I do not have ammunition here in Brussels. I do not have a stock of ammunition, I have to mobilize the stocks of the European armies,” he said.
“The first track – providing what the armies already had in their stockpiles – is already finished,” Borrell said, noting that the bloc had provided Ukraine with more than 300,000 shells already. “Now, from the stockpiles of the armies, it is difficult to get more.”
The figure provided appears to confirm earlier reporting by Bloomberg that the EU has provided Kiev with just 30% of the promised shells.
According to Borrell, the flow of ammunition is now dependent on manufacturing capacities of the bloc’s arms producers.
“Keep in mind that the European defense industry is exporting a lot. About 40% of the production is being exported to third countries so, it is not a lack of production capacities,” he told reporters.
Ukrainian officials have recently renewed requests for additional weapons and other lethal aid, as Kiev’s much-anticipated counteroffensive failed to yield significant territorial gains. Speaking to the Economist earlier this month, Valery Zaluzhny, Ukraine’s top commander, described the state of the conflict with Russia as “a stalemate.”