EU presses for joint arms purchases to help Ukraine

TEHRAN, Feb. 19 (MNA) – The European Union is urgently exploring ways for its member countries to team up to buy munitions to help Ukraine, following warnings from Kyiv that its forces need more supplies quickly, diplomats and officials said.

According to Reuters, EU foreign ministers are expected to discuss the idea of joint procurement of 155-millimeter artillery shells – badly needed by Kyiv – at a meeting in Brussels on Monday.

EU officials and diplomats say a joint approach would be more efficient than member states placing individual orders. Larger orders would also help the industry invest in extra capacity, they said.

"It is now the time, really, to speed up the production, and to scale up the production of standardized products that Ukraine needs desperately," European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told the annual Munich Security Conference on Saturday.

Von der Leyen later said she was confident the urgency of the situation would convince EU members to set aside their longstanding preference for buying arms at a national level.

The joint arms buying could be similar to the EU's advance purchase of COVID vaccines, she added.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said ammunition was a critical issue which he had discussed with defense industry leaders at the Munich conference.

"I received assurances - and I have specific numbers - about the quantities that can be produced," he told reporters. "The question is (around) contracting them, financing and logistics."

While no decisions are expected on Monday, an EU diplomat said announcements were likely in the coming days, following an Estonian proposal for EU procurement of 155mm ammunition, the shells used in artillery pieces such as Howitzers.

The diplomat said the bloc was focusing on how to boost production and how joint purchases would be funded.


News Code 197534


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