EU to Endorse More Ukraine Military Aid03/23 06:07
EU leaders are set to endorse a deal aimed at sending to Ukraine 1 million
rounds of artillery shells within the next 12 months to help the country
counter Russia's invasion forces.
BRUSSELS (AP) -- EU leaders are set to endorse a deal aimed at sending to
Ukraine 1 million rounds of artillery shells within the next 12 months to help
the country counter Russia's invasion forces.
The fast-track procedure was adopted during a meeting of foreign and defense
ministers earlier this week, and leaders gathered at a summit in Brussels on
Thursday will give it a political blessing, according to several senior EU
With Ukraine facing shortages of ammunition to fight Russia, the idea of
setting up a joint purchasing plan of action similar to the one devised during
the coronavirus pandemic to buy vaccines was first brought to the table last
month by Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas.
"What is critical is sending ammunition to Ukraine fast, because that might
bring a change in this war," Kallas said as she arrived at the summit.
EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said he has won approval for his
proposal to provide 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion) to encourage member nations
to provide artillery shells from their stocks and any orders for new rounds
that they might have placed with industry.
A further 1 billion euros would also be used to fast-track new orders and
encourage countries to work together on those purchases through the European
Defense Agency or in groups of at least three nations.
Germany has already called for countries to join its own effort, which
Berlin believes will go faster.
Among the 27 EU countries, Hungary has announced it will not take part in
the supply of ammunition to Ukraine, citing its commitment to peace, but said
it will not prevent other members from doing so by blocking the deal. Last
month, Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban said the bloc is partly to blame
for prolonging Russia's war in Ukraine by sanctioning Russia and supplying
Ukraine with money and weapons, rather than seeking to negotiate peace with
According to various estimates, Ukraine is firing 6,000-7,000 artillery
shells daily, around a third of Russia's total, one year into the war.
Leaders will also discuss the possibility of topping up with an extra 3.5
billion euros the European Peace Facility -- a fund being used to reimburse
member countries that provide weapons, ammunition and military support to
In parallel, the European Defense Agency would aggregate demands from member
states to restock, and lead a fast-track procedure for direct negotiations with
industrial providers of ammunition in Europe.
"When we have this joint procurement, then the defense industry has the
orders that they can actually double their production, because they have not
done so far," Kallas said.
At their two-day meeting, leaders will be joined by U.N. Secretary General
Antonio Guterres for lunch on Thursday, and Ukrainian President Volodymyr
Zelenskyy will address the meeting via video link.
Other topics of discussion will include the bloc's competitiveness and its
response to the $369 billion U.S. Inflation Reduction Act. energy. Friday's
discussions will focus on the economic and financial situation.