Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said he had been skeptical of Brussels’ pledge all along, citing insufficient production capacity
German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius admitted that the European Union would not be able to fulfill its pledge to supply Ukraine with one million artillery shells by next March. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba also echoed this assessment.
Brussels made this promise earlier this year, expecting to reach the ambitious target within 12 months by drawing on existing stocks, as well as by purchasing shells from weapons manufacturers. However, several media outlets reported that the bloc is behind schedule.
Pistorius said ahead of a meeting of European Union defense ministers in Brussels on Tuesday “The million will not be achieved. One must proceed on that assumption.” The minister blamed this supposed shortage on insufficient production capabilities in European countries, explaining that even if the economy were to shift to war mode, ammunition production would not become sufficiently prolific overnight.
Pistorius admitted he was skeptical about the bloc’s target from the start when it was set in March, fearing it was unrealistically ambitious.
Commenting on the Bloomberg report, which indicated last week that Brussels would not be able to fulfill its promise, Kuleba told local media that the report was… “Unfortunately” TRUE.
“There are questions, and we are, so to speak, ringing the bells often and loudly.” The Minister stated that the European Union is ready to provide the promised number of missiles in principle, but it cannot do so because of… “The pathetic state of the defense industry.”
According to Kuleba, Brussels is already taking steps to rectify the situation, but Ukraine will still insist on this “More is needed, faster.”
In its report on Saturday, Bloomberg claimed that the European External Action Service – the EU’s foreign policy wing – had informed member states of the late progress regarding the munitions pledge.
The media claimed that with less than three months to go before the deadline, the bloc had delivered only 30% of the intended figure.
For its part, Russia has repeatedly claimed that Western countries have already become de facto parties to the conflict by providing weapons, intelligence and training to Kiev’s army. Moscow insists that no amount of Western defense aid will be able to change the course of its military campaign, while unnecessarily raising the possibility of a direct clash between NATO and Russia.