High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell (L) and German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius at the start of a European Defence ministers council meeting in Brussels, Belgium, 14 November 2023. EFE/EPA/OLIVIER HOSLET

Ukraine desperately seeks weapons, Europe can’t meet demand

Kyiv/Moscow, Nov 14 (EFE).- Ukraine is scrambling to secure weapons for next year’s campaign, while Europe admits that it may not fulfill its promises of ammunition.

The European Union admitted Tuesday that it may not be able to meet its goal of supplying Ukraine with one million artillery shells and rockets in a one-year period that ends next spring, despite efforts to increase production capacity and contracts with industry.

EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell said this at the end of a meeting of EU defense ministers.

“The industry has the capacity to produce one million projectiles a year, but that does not mean that we will have one million ready by March,” he commented, adding that “it is up to the member states to pass on the orders for such production.”

In any case, he reiterated that the “political objective” of reaching one million is “ambitious” but that “we will continue to work towards it.”

So far, Borrell said, more than 300,000 rounds have already been delivered – with European co-financing – from stocks that countries have accumulated or diverted to Ukraine.

“There’s no lack of production capacity, it’s just that the product is being sent to other markets. Maybe what we have to do is try to shift that production to the priority one, which is the Ukrainians,” Borrell said.

The German Minister of Defense, Boris Pistorius, underlined that “the million will not be reached and we have to start from that basis.”

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba denied in a TV interview on Tuesday that there is a lack of political will in the EU, but rather an excess of bureaucracy that complicates the delivery of weaponry, and said the “sorry state” of the European military industry means it will not be able to supply Kyiv with the promised one million shells before March 2024.

“And the fact is that, before my eyes, there is a Ukrainian soldier who needs ammunition,” he said.