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Tuesday, March 28, 2023

EU could replenish 3.5 billion euro arms purchase fund for Ukraine

The European Union may soon increase the fund used to buy arms from Ukraine by 3.5 billion euros ($3.7 billion), a senior EU official said on Friday.

According to a plan drawn up by Foreign Minister Josep Borrell, EU countries will receive financial incentives of 1 billion euros ($1.06 billion) to send more artillery shells into Ukraine, and Another 1 billion euros will go to joint purchases of new shells.

“If an agreement is reached on this 2 billion euro package, the resources of the EPF (European Fund for Peace) will be exhausted,” the European official said, referring to the fund used to finance the armament of Kiev. “Member states have to decide if they want to make this new €3.5 billion surcharge possible, and if so, when.”

Ukrainian authorities have urged the EU to unite to buy 1 million 155mm shells worth 4 billion euros this year to help counter the Russian invasion and launch a counterattack.

One million shells should protect Ukraine for three to five months, “depending on the tactical situation on the ground”, the EU official calculated.

However, Western arms stocks ran out more than a year after the start of the war and, according to the source, 155mm artillery shells could be delivered to Ukraine in about a year from the order date.

“We know that some countries are almost completely out of stock,” he said, adding that EPF has reimbursed EU member states for delivering 350,000 of these cartridges to Kiev.

Turning to the US is also not an option, as US production capacity for 155mm shells lags behind Europe, where 15 companies in 11 countries manufacture the type of ammunition, the source said.

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