EU members have so far placed orders for only 60,000 artillery shells under a joint procurement scheme, which is a key component of the plan to supply Ukraine with 1 million shells by spring, Reuters reported on Dec. 6, citing undisclosed sources.
European and Ukrainian officials acknowledged in November that the EU is behind schedule with its shell deliveries, just as Russia is ramping up defense production and securing ammunition from its partners.
One method of hitting the 1-million mark lies in jointly procuring additional munition through contracts negotiated by the bloc's European Defence Agency (EDA).
The EDA said in September that seven countries had ordered ammunition via this scheme. Lithuania, Denmark, and Luxembourg have said they were among this group.
Sources told Reuters that only 60,000 shells had been ordered under this scheme, although the EDA did not confirm the figure.
Another way to provide munitions to Ukraine was by drawing on existing stocks. EU countries delivered some 300,000 shells and missiles from their arsenals, the bloc's chief diplomat, Josep Borrell, announced in mid-November.
More munitions were ordered in contracts under the leadership of a specific lead nation, like Germany.
EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Nov. 30 that 480,000 artillery shells had "been either delivered (to Ukraine) or are in the pipeline," which is less than half of the promised amount.
According to Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, the delays are connected to the poor state of the European defense industry.
Micael Johannson, the vice-chairman of the ASD defense lobby group, said that Europe is facing a real challenge to "restart production of ammunition and weapons systems that we haven't done for a very long time."
In turn, defense industry representatives called on the governments for more firm orders rather than just targets.