EU sends Ukraine 224,000 shells under ammunition plan

Delivery is part of deal to provide Kyiv with weaponry worth $2.2 billion

Ukrainian servicemen fire a M109 self-propelled howitzer towards Russian troops in the Donetsk region. Reuters
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The EU has delivered artillery 223,800 shells to Ukraine under the first part of a plan to provide a million rounds to aid Kyiv's fight against Russia, a spokesman said on Friday.

This year, the 27-nation bloc pledged to step up supplies to address Kyiv's shortfalls.

Its members agreed a €2 billion ($2.2 billion) plan to use their stockpiles and place joint orders for shells, in an effort to deliver a million shells over 12 months.

Under the first stage of the plan, running between February 9 and May 31, €1 billion was earmarked to reimburse EU members roughly half the cost of shells provided from their arsenals.

“Member states have delivered around 223,800 artillery ammunition – long-range self-propelled, precision-guided ammunitions as well as mortar ammunitions – and 2,300 missiles of all types,” EU spokesman Peter Stano said.

Overall, the total value of the ordnance provided was €1.1 billion, the EU said. EU funds reimbursed only part of that, suggesting the measure fell short of the target.

Friday's new figure for artillery ammunition sent was a small advance on the number – 220,000 shells – announced by EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell in late May.

EU countries had until July 15 to declare their deliveries.

This leaves the bloc and its members a long way off their target of one million shells by next spring.

In February, several EU capitals were already sceptical about the goal, fearing they would fall short.

Under the second part of the plan, the EU's defence agency is negotiating joint procurement contracts with European manufacturers for 155-mm howitzer shells and missiles.

“The agency expects framework contracts with industry to be signed in the coming weeks, allowing member states to place orders from then on,” the EU said.

Any contracts need to be concluded by the end of September to fall under the EU supply plan.

In total, the EU and its member states say they have spent about €20 billion supplying weaponry of all kinds to Ukraine since Russia invaded in February 2022.

As of July 25, the US had committed more than $43.7 billion in security assistance to Ukraine, according to the Pentagon.

On Thursday, the White House asked the US Congress for another $13 billion in military spending for Ukraine.

Updated: August 12, 2023, 5:01 AM