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Borrell confirms EU delivery of 500,000 shells to Ukraine by end of March

by Elsa Court and The Kyiv Independent news desk March 25, 2024 10:58 PM 2 min read
Members of Ukraine's 10th Mountain Brigade prepare to fire 122mm artillery shells on March 2, 2023. (John Moore/Getty Images)
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The EU has delivered 500,000 of the promised 1 million artillery shells to Ukraine and aims to deliver the total amount by the end of the year, the EU's top diplomat, Josep Borrell, said in his blog on March 25.

The EU announced in March 2023 that it would provide Ukraine with a million shells within one year. News first emerged in October 2023 that the bloc was unlikely to reach its target, having been unable to ramp up production.

On top of the million donated shells, another 400,000 shells will be provided to Ukraine through commercial contracts with the European defense industry, Borrell said.

"The Czech initiative to buy ammunition outside the EU comes in addition to these efforts," Borrell said, referring to the 800,000 shells in stocks in countries around the world that Prague identified in February as potential supplies for Ukraine.

Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala said on March 12 that the initiative has already secured the purchase of 300,000 shells and received nonbinding commitments for 200,000 more. More than 20 countries have pledged funding for the initiative.  

According to Borell, however, the planned shell supplies are "far from being enough," and argued that the EU has to "increase both our capacity of production and the financial resources devoted to support Ukraine."

Borrell also pointed out that the 290 billion euro ($314 billion) EU defense budget for 2023 only represents 1.7% of EU GDP, which is below the NATO 2% benchmark.

"In the current geopolitical context, this could be seen as a minimum requirement," Borrell said.

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