EU agrees to delivery a million rounds of artillery ammunition to Ukraine in next 12 months

European Union members states have agreed to deliver a million rounds of artillery ammunition to Ukraine within the next 12 months, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said on March 20 after a meeting of the bloc’s foreign affairs and defence ministers.

In a message on Twitter, Borrell said that a “three track approach” had been agreed on.

This involved a billion euro for immediate delivery, a billion euro for joint procurement, and a commission to ramp up production capacity, he said.

Separately, the European Defence Agency (EDA) said that 18 member states signed on March 20 a project arrangement for the collaborative procurement of ammunition to aid Ukraine and replenish member states’ national stockpiles.

The project opens the way for EU member states and Norway to proceed along two paths: a two-year, fast-track procedure for 155mm artillery rounds and a seven-year project to acquire multiple ammunition types, the EDA said.

Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Sweden and Norway have signed.

“More member states have already expressed their intent to join the initiative soon following national procedures.”

The “Collaborative Procurement of Ammunition” project was set up in record time by EDA to answer the call to procure ammunition collectively and more quickly by aggregating, coordinating, and agreeing contracts with the European defence industry, the statement said.

“EDA’s project provides a solid framework for member states’ intention to jointly procure urgently needed ammunition for Ukraine. This project sends a clear message to industry and strengthens the EU’s support for Ukraine following Russia’s war of aggression,” the EDA said.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on March 20 that pursuant to a delegation of authority from President Joe Biden, he was authorising the US’s 34th drawdown of US arms and equipment for Ukraine valued at $350 million.

This military assistance package includes more ammunition for US-provided HIMARS and howitzers that Ukraine is using to defend itself, as well as ammunition for Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicles, HARM missiles, anti-tank weapons, riverine boats, and other equipment, Blinken said.

“We applaud the more than 50 countries that have come together to provide support for Ukraine as it defends its sovereignty and territorial integrity.

“Russia alone could end its war today.  Until Russia does we will stand united with Ukraine for as long as it takes,” Blinken said.

(Photo: EC Audiovisual Service/Lukasz-Kobus)

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