Senior EU Official Says Ukraine Artillery Pledge Won’t Be Met by March


The European Union will miss its previously stated target of supplying Ukraine with one million artillery shells and missiles by next March.

German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius made the admission Tuesday before a summit of EU defense ministers in the Belgian capital Brussels.

Pistorius’s comments were the first admission by a senior EU official that the goal would not be met, although many had expressed skepticism in private for months.

The pledge was made back in March in response to Ukraine’s need for artillery shells as its nearly two-year-old war with Russian invading forces has ground to a stalemate. The pledge was part of a three-part program to boost ammunition supplies to Ukraine, with the first part involving EU member states to contribute from their own stockpiles.

The second part involves EU countries to order new shells from industry under a joint procurement initiative.

Pistorius said the EU is working with arms manufacturers to ramp up production of weapons and ammunition for Ukraine.

His admission comes just two days after German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s governing coalition has agreed in principle to double the country’s military aid for Ukraine next year to about $8.5 billion, a political source in Berlin said Sunday.

If approved by parliament, where Scholz’s parties hold a majority, the boost would lift Germany’s defense spending to 2.1% of its gross domestic product target, beyond the 2% pledged by all NATO members, the source addeed.

Germany’s proposal comes amid reservations by multiple European Union countries, including Germany, about committing long-term military aid of up to $5 billion annually over four years as part of broader Western security commitments to bolster Ukraine’s defenses.

Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelenskyy warned the nation during his nightly video address Sunday to brace for new waves of Russian attacks on Ukraine’s infrastructure as winter approaches.__VOA News