| 22 May 2024, Wednesday |

EU eyes joint arms buying to help Ukraine

As a result of warnings from Kiev that its military urgently require more supplies, the European Union is immediately looking into methods for its member nations to work together to buy ammunition to assist Ukraine.

At a meeting on Monday in Brussels, EU foreign ministers are anticipated to debate the possibility of jointly purchasing 155-millimeter artillery ammunition, which Kyiv urgently requires.

According to EU officials and diplomats, such a strategy would be more effective than individual orders from EU nations. They said that bigger orders would encourage business to expand its capacity.

On Saturday, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen urged the EU’s member states to come together to get more ammunition to Kyiv as soon as possible.

“It is now the time, really, to speed up the production, and to scale up the production of standardized products that Ukraine needs desperately,” von der Leyen told the Munich Security Conference, an annual gathering of policymakers.

“We could think of, for example, advanced purchase agreements that give the defense industry the possibility to invest in production line now to be faster and to increase the amount they can deliver.”

While no decisions are expected on Monday, EU diplomats and officials said there was a strong desire to move quickly.

An EU diplomat said the bloc was focusing on how to boost production, how to buy munitions jointly and how to pay for them.

“I think you’ll see a good few announcements and explanations in the coming days from the European institutions. And then there will be technical work that will be necessary,” the diplomat said.

Discussions gained impetus after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy made his case for ramped-up supplies to EU leaders in person at a summit last week, and Estonia proposed joint EU procurement of 155mm ammunition, the shells used in artillery pieces such as Howitzers.

  • Reuters