EU officials warned member states could be running out of arms in their efforts to help Ukraine and called for increased military capabilities within the bloc.
“Russia’s military operation in Ukraine is a wake-up call for the security and defense of the European Union (EU). Lack of investment makes defense capabilities inadequate to face the threats we face. The European Defense Agency has warned about this,” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said in a post on the European External Action Service (EEAS) homepage yesterday.
Mr Borrell said the current security environment shows the EU needs to do more to ensure security, including building a modern and synergistic armed force and increasing combat capabilities and weapons in areas such as air defence, cyber warfare and space defence.
“The depleted stockpiles of weapons after military aid to Ukraine are the best example of our shortcomings. This is partly the result of budget cuts and underinvestment in the past,” the EU official said, urging EU countries to stockpile weapons and improve their internal combat readiness.
About 20 countries, most of them NATO and EU members, are supplying arms to Ukraine in response to Russia’s military campaign.
The Netherlands and Latvia are sending missiles to Ukraine’s air defense forces. Estonia supplied Javelin anti-tank missiles, while the Czech Republic sent machine guns, sniper rifles, pistols and ammunition. Poland promised to provide tens of thousands of artillery shells, anti-aircraft missiles, light mortars, reconnaissance drones and other weapons.
The German Ministry of Defense will deliver the first 15 Gepard self-propelled anti-aircraft artillery systems and 60,000 rounds of ammunition to Ukraine in July to protect key targets. Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht also announced in early April that Germany would deploy 7 self-propelled artillery systems PzH 2000 calibers to Ukraine 155mm.
The European fund used to purchase heavy weapons is known as the European Peace Facility. The fund was established two years ago with the aim of preventing conflict and increasing international security. The fund has a budget of about $6.4 billion for operations between 2021 and 2027. EU officials said if Ukraine needed financial assistance, it could be used.
vu appendix (Corresponding sputnik)