EU foreign policy chief: Most pressing issue for Ukrainian army is artillery shells

The most important, pressing issue today for the Ukrainian army is to have a continuous flow of 155mm artillery shells, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said on February 20.

“The Russian artillery shoots about 50 000 shots a day. A day. Ukraine needs to be at the same level of capacity. They have cannons but they lack ammunition,” Borrell said ahead of a meeting of EU foreign ministers.

Ways are being sought to meet the Ukrainian armed forces’ need for 155mm and 152mm shells, including using the European Peace Facility to provide financing, joint purchases and asking EU countries to give part of their stockpiles to the Ukrainian military.

“It is the most urgent issue. If we fail on that, really, the result of the war is in danger,” Borrell said.

The matter was being discussed at the February 20 meeting of foreign ministers, and would be discussed on February 21 at Nato at a meeting between Borrell and Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, and in two weeks’ time at a meeting of EU defence ministers.

“At the end, it is the defence ministers who have to take these kinds of decisions. Defence is a member states’ competence, and it is the defence ministers who are the ‘masters’ of these kinds of decisions,” Borrell said.

Noting that the anniversary of Russia’s February 24 2022 invasion of Ukraine is this week, Borrell said:

“One year later, what do we see? Thousands of people being killed, mass destruction, continuous bombing and sending shockwaves to the world economy, tumbling energy prices, food crisis”.

“Putin is guilty of creating a lot of pain: not only to the Ukrainians, but to the whole world. But especially to the Ukrainians. You see what is happening: continuous bombing, destruction of civilian infrastructures, killing of civilians,” he said.

Stoltenberg, speaking on February 18 at the Munich Security Conference, said that one year since the February 2022 invasion, “Putin is not planning for peace but for more war”.

“We must give Ukraine what they need to win and prevail as a sovereign, independent nation in Europe,” Stoltenberg said.

(Photo: Pietro Naj Oleari)

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