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Kuleba says he's 'frustrated' over delay in EU ammunition procurement plan
Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on April 20 that he's "frustrated" about the European Union stalling its program on the joint purchase of ammunition for Ukraine.
"This is a test of whether the EU has strategic autonomy in making new crucial security decisions. For Ukraine, the cost of inaction is measured in human lives," Kuleba said on Twitter.
Although the EU approved the procurement of one million artillery rounds for Ukraine back on March 20, the member states still argue about some plan's details.
One of the main points of contention pertains to the level of restrictions on funding for EU manufacturers and to what extent countries such as the U.S. and U.K. should be involved in procurement. According to Politico, France has been pushing to keep the funds within the EU.
The program consists of three stages, namely, the transfer of existing artillery rounds from the arsenals of EU countries, joint purchases of ammunition, and the production of the remaining artillery rounds.
Diplomats told Politico that it was ultimately a question of "speed of European industry" as Europe's defense industry may not be capable of delivering Ukraine one million shells over the next 12 months as promised.
At a meeting with EU defense ministers in Stockholm on March 8, Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov said that the main priorities for Ukraine were more air defense systems and a million rounds of ammunition.