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EU nations agree to jointly buy arms for Ukraine

EU nations agree to jointly buy arms for Ukraine

Member states have pledged to send a combined one million artillery shells to Kiev in the next 12 months

Eighteen EU nations have agreed to draw on their artillery stocks and jointly buy more shells so they can provide 1 million rounds to Ukraine over the next 12 months.

The agreement was finalized on Monday at a meeting of the EU’s foreign and defense ministers. Ukraine’s Western allies are scrambling to ensure Kiev has the ammunition it needs to fight Russian forces after NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg warned last month that the conflict was consuming ammunition at a rate “many times higher than our current production rate”.

“We are taking a key step towards fulfilling our promises to provide Ukraine with more artillery ammunition,” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said on Monday. He added that orders for 155 millimeter shells would be aggregated and expedited through the EU Defense Agency.

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The plan approved on Monday was based on Borrell’s proposal earlier this month to offer 1 billion euros ($1.07 billion) in EU financial incentives to nations that pledged to tap their inventories of munitions for Ukraine, as well as another €1 billion to help fund joint procurement. of new shells.

Borrell claimed last month that Russian artillery forces were firing about 50,000 shells a day and Ukraine did not have enough ammunition to match Moscow’s firepower. “It’s the most pressing issue,” he said at the time. “If we fail in this, the outcome of the war is in jeopardy.”

Even if the nations that signed Monday’s deal are able to fulfill their promises, Estonian Defense Minister Hanno Pevkur told reporters in Brussels that “many, many details” are still not have been resolved, 1 million rounds would last only 20 days in Brussels. the rate of fire cited by Borrell. US officials have estimated that Ukraine currently fires between 4,000 and 7,000 shells per day.

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German politician Michael Gahler, a member of the European Parliament, described the agreement to jointly buy ammunition for Ukraine as “a good, albeit late, initiative.” He added: “We wasted time, too much time last year because the reality was that many member states, including mine, remained too passive for too long despite strong verbal commitments… We must deliver to Ukraine whenever it needs let Ukraine win, and we must replenish our stocks in time, as soon as possible, to be able to defend ourselves.”

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Russian officials have repeatedly warned that sending weapons to Ukraine will prolong bloodshed and risk escalation into a wider conflict.

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