Estonian Defense Minister Hanno Pevkur said that purchase of artillery shells for Ukraine outside the European Economic Area cannot be ruled out.
“We have always believed that speed is everything. If (the ammunition) cannot be found quickly in Europe, buying outside of Europe cannot be ruled out either,” Pevkur told the Estonian newspaper Postimees on April 6.
After Estonia’s initial proposal, the EU agreed in March to supply Ukraine with 1 million rounds of artillery shells. In the first phase, the bloc should dedicate €1 billion to countries that can send their stockpiles right away. Another €1 billion will be used for the joint purchase of new rounds.
The members are yet to agree on where to acquire these shells. France proposes to purchase from European suppliers, hoping to boost its domestic defense industry. Paris found support from Cyprus and Greece, who do not wish the procurement tender to go to Turkey.
However, there are worries that Europe’s defense industry currently lacks the capacity to quickly produce the required amount of shells.
“The primary goal was to support and strengthen the capabilities of European manufacturers. However, if European manufacturers say that they will not be able to produce shells in a year and Ukraine needs a million shells, we should not rule out purchasing outside of Europe as well,” Pevkur commented.