The Czech government is trying to convince the member states of the European Union to jointly finance the purchase of artillery shells from non-European countries and manufacturers, whereby the material obtained in this way would subsequently be provided to Ukraine as military aid. It is written by the website Politico. European arms manufacturers are unable to increase production capacity quickly enough, and it is already clear that the EU member states are unable to fulfill their proclaimed obligations towards the attacked country.
In recent months, the Ukrainian armed forces have been dealing with an ever-increasing shortage of artillery ammunition. While in the summer, during their counter-offensive, the Ukrainians were able to fire 7,000 artillery shells per day against the Russians’ 5,000, this ratio has now turned significantly against the defending country. During January, the Russians fired an average of 10,000 shells per day, while the Ukrainians only fired 2,000.
One of the main reasons for this development is the dwindling military aid provided to Ukraine by its Western partners. While in the United States, further deliveries of military equipment are blocked by Republican members of Congress, ammunition shipments from European countries are limited by the state of the local military industry, which has shrunk considerably in the decades since the end of the Cold War. Most of the artillery shells that the EU countries sent to Ukraine came from existing stocks. However, this resource has almost dried up. The Europeans will thus not fulfill their promise to deliver one million pieces of this ammunition to Ukraine by March, which the Union announced last year. The volume of material actually delivered will probably reach roughly half of the declared figure.
A possible solution to alleviate the shortage of ammunition is its purchases abroad. Member countries that resort to this option, however, will not be able to obtain compensation from the common European funds that were established to help Ukraine. The Union has so far reimbursed only those supplies that come either from existing army stocks or from European manufacturers.
According to Politico, in response to this development, the Czech government is now appealing to other EU members to approve the joint financing of the purchase of approximately 450,000 pieces of ammunition that are currently available on the world market. Individual European countries could buy grenades from, for example, South Korea, Turkey or the Republic of South Africa.
The proposal to buy ammunition from abroad was apparently presented for the first time on Wednesday at a meeting of Union defense ministers. On Thursday, Prime Minister Petr Fiala was to support him directly at the extraordinary EU summit in Brussels, where further aid to Ukraine was a central topic.