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EU Grants $2.14 Billion in Munitions Aid to Ukraine


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European Union foreign ministers on Monday approved a 2 billion euro ($2.14 billion) plan to raid their stockpiles and jointly buy badly needed artillery shells for Ukraine, diplomats said.

Diplomats said the 27-nation bloc aims to supply Ukraine with one million rounds of ammunition over the next 12 months, as Kiev demands more firepower to counter a grinding Russian offensive.

Kiev has complained that its forces are having to ration their firepower as a year-old Russian invasion has turned into a grinding war of attrition.

Ukraine has told the European Union it wants 350,000 shells a month to help its forces fend off Moscow’s offensive and allow them to launch new counter-attacks later in the year.

Before signing the agreement, Josep Borrell, the European Union’s foreign policy chief, said that an agreement needed to be reached, “otherwise we will face difficulties in order to continue supplying weapons to Ukraine.”

“We have to help Ukraine faster and faster now,” said French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna.

The first part of the plan involves allocating an additional 1 billion euros ($1.06 billion) in co-financing to try to get EU countries to tap their already stockpiles of munitions that can be dispatched quickly.

The second part would see the bloc use another €1 billion to order 155mm rounds for Ukraine as part of a massive joint procurement campaign aimed at incentivizing EU defense companies to ramp up production.

Buying arms together on this scale is a major new step for the European Union, which has seen long-running efforts to work more coherently on defense pushed forward by Russia’s war.

Countries have been arguing over details, such as whether the EU defense agency or member states will negotiate orders and whether they should buy only from producers in Europe.

Diplomats said the plan on the table is to send the first missiles worth one billion euros to Ukraine by the end of May and sign joint contracts at the beginning of September.

The Lithuanian Foreign Minister, Gabrielius Landsbergis, said the ambition is to supply one million rounds over the next year, but that has not been achieved.

“It is possible that we will not be able to reach him,” he said.

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