During a meeting in Brussels on Monday, the European Union’s defense and foreign ministers approved a plan worth two billion euros ($2.14bn) to jointly procure ammunition for Ukraine by tapping into their own arsenals. The initiative aims to provide Ukraine with one million artillery shells within the next year and replenish E.U.’s stocks. This decision was taken to support Ukraine’s ongoing efforts toward safeguarding its territorial integrity and national security.
While presiding over the meeting, the E.U.’s chief of foreign policy, Joseph Borrell, used Twitter to laud a significant resolution for the twenty-seven E.U. nations and Norway, describing it as a “historic decision.” Borrell announced they were moving closer to fulfilling their commitment to providing Ukraine with additional artillery ammunition. He pointed out that 18 countries had joined forces with the European Defense Agency (EDA) to collectively collaborate on an initiative to purchase ammunition from the defense industry.
We are taking a key step towards delivering on our promises to provide #Ukraine with more artillery ammunition
18 countries signed up to the @EUDefenceAgency project to aggregate orders&place them with industry#EU committed to deliver more & faster to Ukraine#StandWithUkraine pic.twitter.com/tR2F2BHNtB
— Josep Borrell Fontelles (@JosepBorrellF) March 20, 2023
Borrell’s Plan to Provide Funding for Artillery Shells
During a recent announcement, Borrell approved his proposal to incentivize member nations to provide artillery shells. The proposal included a budget of one billion Euros, which would be used to encourage member countries to offer their stocks of artillery shells, as well as any orders from new rounds they may have placed with industry. Additionally, the proposal included another one billion euros to facilitate speedy new orders and promote collaboration between members.
The E.U. nations have given the green light to a plan that will allow them to provide Ukraine with ammunition from their stockpiles and engage in collective procurement worth two billion euros ($2.14bn).#EU #Ukraineaid #Ukraine #Russia #UkraineRussianWar #EUNations #Ammunition pic.twitter.com/1JghEfjF6b
— News Live (@NewsLiveFree) March 21, 2023
The funding would be distributed through the EDA or groups of at least three nations. Germany has also initiated a similar plan, which it believes will be more efficient. In the long run, boosting Europe’s defense industry to increase production is the program’s third aspect. E.U. officials have indicated that new joint orders could be placed as early as May if the proposal is approved. The plan aims to support the defense industry to enhance its capacity and enable it to keep up with the demand for ammunition.
Ukraine Praised the E.U.’s Support in Procuring Artillery Ammunition
The Ukrainian Foreign Minister, Dmytro Kuleba, took to Twitter to express his gratitude towards Josep Borrell and the E.U. for their game-changing decision. He appreciated the urgent delivery and sustainable joint procurement of artillery ammunition, which he believes is precisely what Ukraine needs. Kyiv has expressed concerns over the scarcity of ammunition and the need to ration firepower due to Russia’s year-long invasion of Ukraine, resulting in an ongoing war of attrition.
I am grateful to @JosepBorrellF and EU member states for this game-changing decision. Exactly what is needed: urgent delivery + sustainable joint procurement. The EU once again demonstrates resolute leadership in the face of historic challenges posed by Russian aggression. https://t.co/jrlyjAlJPA
— Dmytro Kuleba (@DmytroKuleba) March 20, 2023
The German defense industry has announced its readiness to increase production, particularly for the types of arms and ammunition required by Ukraine. However, it is awaiting clarification from the governments regarding the exact nature of their requirements before investing in additional production capacity. Ukraine has stated that it needs 350,000 shells per month to support its military in countering the Russian invasion and launch a new counteroffensive later in the year.
The German Defense Minister, Boris Pistorius, stated that the “starting signal” has been given, ensuring that Ukraine will receive significant ammunition this year. Following Russia’s invasion, Ukraine became the third-largest importer of arms globally in 2022, with substantial military aid from the United States and Europe flowing into Kyiv, per the Swedish think tank SIPRI. In a Monday announcement, the U.S. Department of State confirmed it would send weapons and equipment worth $350 million to Ukraine. The aid package includes several kinds of ammunition, including rockets, an undisclosed number of fuel tanker trucks, and riverine boats.
Xi Jinping Insists on a Reasonable Approach to Resolve Ukraine Conflict
Xi Jinping, the President of China, urges for a ‘reasonable approach to resolve the Ukraine conflict. Russian President Vladimir Putin warmly welcomed Chinese leader Xi Jinping on his state visit to the Kremlin. The visit sent a message to Western leaders that their attempts to isolate Moscow over the Ukraine conflict have been ineffective. The trip marks Xi’s first international visit since his re-election earlier this month and showcases China’s increasing diplomatic confidence. Furthermore, the visit commenced on Monday, highlighting Beijing’s newfound diplomatic powers.
Despite Beijing’s deepening economic ties with Moscow, Xi has been attempting to portray China as a possible mediator in the Ukrainian conflict, emphasizing his country’s potential to bring peace to the region. In addition to showcasing China’s growing diplomatic confidence, Xi’s visit to the Kremlin also provided a political boost for Putin after his arrest warrant from the ICC. The timing of the visit was particularly significant as it came just a few days after an international arrest warrant was issued against Putin on war crimes charges related to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.
Chinese leader Xi Jinping arrived in Moscow on Monday for dialogs with Russian President Vladimir Putin, where he called for a rational resolution to the ongoing Ukraine crisis. However, he acknowledged that finding a solution to the conflict would take work. Despite his diplomatic efforts, Xi is facing a delicate balancing act as he intends to deepen economic ties with Moscow while also attempting to portray China as a potential mediator in the crisis. The meeting between the two leaders was closely watched by Western leaders trying to isolate Russia over its involvement in the war in Ukraine.
U.S. Criticized XI’s Visit
The United States has criticized Xi Jinping’s state visit to Moscow, suggesting that the trip’s timing provides diplomatic cover for Russia to continue committing crimes in Ukraine. In response, China released a 12-point proposal to address the crisis in Ukraine, which Western nations have largely dismissed as an attempt to buy Putin more time to consolidate his hold on the occupied land and reorganize his forces.
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