EU delivering 480,000 rounds of artillery shells to Ukraine – EC President

EU delivering 480,000 rounds of artillery shells to Ukraine – EC President

Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Europe has faced the need to mobilize its defense industry to sustain a war effort, and 480,000 rounds of artillery shells have already been either delivered to Ukraine or are in the pipeline.

The relevant statement was made by President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen at the European Defence Agency (EDA) Annual Conference 2023 in Brussels, an Ukrinform correspondent reports.

“And when Russia invaded Ukraine in 2022, decades of patient work allowed us to react quickly and decisively. […] Now, for the first time ever, we are mobilising Europe’s defence industry to sustain a war effort. The European Defence Fund has been complemented by EDIRPA. And it has led to ASAP, the Act in Support of Ammunition Production. 480,000 rounds of artillery shells have been either delivered or are in the pipeline. And already next year, we will be able to produce one million rounds per year. This would have been unimaginable just a few years ago. And it already marks a massive step forward for our defence cooperation,” von der Leyen said.

In her words, the war in Ukraine demonstrates that Europe’s defense industry needs to produce more, both to meet Ukraine’s needs and to ensure its own deterrence and defence.

“The war in Ukraine is consuming more hardware than any other war in recent history. Russia has fired 10 million shells in a year. Ukraine consumes 10,000 drones per month. This means that Europe’s defence industry must mobilise, too. The reality is that we did not have sufficient weapons and ammunition available. No large stocks. And a lack of spare capacity. Because in peacetime, we thought we did not need them. This needed to change,” von der Leyen emphasized.

The President of the European Commission mentioned that, in July 2023, NATO leaders endorsed a new NATO Defence Production Action Plan. In this regard, the EU needs to be laser-focused on its own production capacities.

“No industrial bottleneck should prevent us from securing Europe. There is no lack of European instruments at our disposal. There are projects of great interest: from long-range drones to a system to detect and neutralise sea mines that could prove vital, for instance, in the Black Sea. But overall, our instruments for cooperation are still punching below their weight,” von der Leyen explained.

According to her, for the first time ever, the EU is now giving military aid to a country at war, right here in Europe.

“EUR 5.6 billion, coordinated at EU level, to deliver tanks, helicopters, air defence systems, missiles and ammunition to Ukraine. We had organised training missions before. Now, for the first time ever, we are training troops involved in an interstate European war, with a mission commanded by the new Brussels headquarters,” von der Leyen added.

A reminder that, since the Russian full-scale invasion started, the European Union and its Member States have been providing consistent and significant political, economic, financial, humanitarian and military aid to Ukraine.

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