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Borrell: EU could achieve 1 mn artillery goal for Ukraine by redirecting exports

40% of EU shells are exported to third countries. If that changes, EU could still hit goal of 1 million artillery shells for Ukraine, says the bloc’s chief diplomat
Josep Borrell addressing EU Ambassadors. Screenshot from video
Borrell: EU could achieve 1 mn artillery goal for Ukraine by redirecting exports

The European Union is falling short on its goal of supplying Ukraine with one million artillery shells partly because arms manufacturers are still exporting about 40% of their production to third countries, according to EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrelll, Liga.net reported.

Speaking on Tuesday ahead of an EU defense ministerial, Borrelll acknowledged that the bloc’s plan to rapidly equip Kyiv’s forces with ammunition faces difficulties. While the EU has so far delivered over 300,000 shells by tapping into existing military stockpiles, ramping up new production has been more challenging.

“Remember that the European industry exports quite a lot. Around 40% of what is produced is exported to third countries,” Borrelll told reporters in Brussels. “So there is not a lack of production capacity, the problem is that this production goes to other markets.”

Borrelll indicated that European arms makers could reconsider their export plans to help meet Ukraine’s urgent ammunition needs. “Maybe we should try to divert this production to the number one priority – that is, Ukraine,” he proposed.

But when asked if there was political backing for such a move, Borrelll admitted that defense firms operate based on commercial considerations rather than geopolitical goals. “It’s a question of offering a market which is more attractive to them,” he conceded.

Borrelll’s comments follow Ukrainian complaints about inadequate European assistance, as well as acknowledgements by German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius that the EU is likely to miss the March 2024 target made in 2023 – one million artillery rounds for Ukraine over a year.

Particularly, Borrell contradicted Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba’s allegation that the lagging shell plan was due to the EU’s “miserable state of the defense industry” and “a lot of unsynchronized things, a lot of bureaucracy.”

Read more about Ukraine’s need for ammunition and the EU’s pledge: EU (predictably) admits it will fail artillery shell pledge for Ukraine

EU (predictably) admits it will fail artillery shell pledge for Ukraine

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