EU can’t achieve one million ammunition target for Ukraine, says German minister

The European Union will likely fail to deliver one million rounds of ammunition to Ukraine as previously agreed, German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius said on Tuesday in Brussels.

EU states had decided to provide Ukraine with the shells until March 2024 to support the country in its defence against Russia.

“The one million target will not be reached, we have to assume that,’’ said Mr Pistorius.

He said this as he arrived at a meeting of EU defence ministers where military aid for Kyiv was at the top of the agenda.

Around 300,000 shells were delivered to Kyiv under the agreement so far, an EU official said.

“The voices that had warned from the outset that the goal was unrealistic were now unfortunately right,” said Mr Pistorius.

EU foreign and security affairs chief Joseph Borrell called on member states to prioritise ammunition exports to Ukraine over other countries to provide more ammunition more quickly.

Ministers would also discuss how to support Ukraine’s armed forces in the long-term.

Plans for 20 billion euros (21.4 billion dollars) in military aid until 2027 are unlikely to receive the required unanimous backing.

Mr Borrell said on Monday that he would present a new proposal for security commitments and military aid for Ukraine in December.

Mr Pistorius confirmed plans for new bilateral aid to Ukraine amounting to at least 8 billion euros.

NATO’s Secretary-General discussed with ministers the protection of critical infrastructure for energy supply and communication, including undersea pipelines and data cables.

Ministers were also to mull plans for a joint response force, dubbed EU Rapid Deployment Capacity. The new 5,000-strong force could be ready for deployment by 2025.