A million shells for Ukraine: what does the historic agreement in Brussels mean for the front
On March 20, the European Union agreed on a historic agreement on the purchase of shells for Ukraine. It was concluded by 17 EU member states and Norway. These countries will work to increase their reserves and help our country.
The states agreed on the transfer of a million 155 mm artillery shells to Ukraine. The details of the deal are reported by a Channel 24 correspondent from Brussels.
The allocation of a million shells
During the first part of the meeting, the EU Foreign Ministers, together with Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba, discussed the situation on the ground. Kuleba told his colleagues about the course of the war in Ukraine and called for weapons to be provided as soon as possible.
“Therefore, I am pleased to announce that the ministers of defense and foreign affairs have jointly made an offer to urgently provide artillery shells to Ukraine,” EU High Representative Josep Borrell said, noting that Ukraine can count on the EU.
Borrell noted that the decision was made very quickly – 2-3 weeks after the informal meeting of EU defense ministers in Stockholm. Eighteen countries have agreed on a three-step plan proposed by Josep Borrell to speed up the supply of ammunition to Ukraine and strengthen the EU's military-industrial complex.
According to the diplomat, the first step is the allocation of one billion euros in support of Ukraine due to the reimbursement of expenses of member states from the European Peace Fund. In this case, countries must provide projectiles from their national stocks or orders that have already been implemented.
The second step is the joint purchase of ammunition through the European Defense Fund. One billion euros from the fund will also be allocated to this initiative. The goal is to deliver the shells quickly. It is expected that the first orders will be issued at the end of May.
Seventeen Member States and Norway have signed an agreement on a European Defense Agency project. And I know others will join soon. Due to national procedures, not everyone was able to sign today, but I think there will be more than 20 participants who will take part in this project, Borrell said.
Signatories include Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Sweden and Norway.
Bulgaria, Spain, Poland, Slovenia, Lithuania, Latvia, Italy, Denmark and Ireland want to join the initiative later after national procedures have been completed. Hungary was the only country that categorically opposed the supply of weapons. The state argued this decision with the desire for “peace”.
The third step of the plan involves the strengthening of the European military industry. Josep Borrell noted that for the past 60 years, the European bloc has been building peace because of economic integration and shared prosperity. However, now the environment has changed and therefore it is necessary to strengthen the capacity of the EU military-industrial complex.
Increasing the budget of the European Peace Fund
Due to the changing world realities, the EU plans to increase the budget of the European Peace Fund to 3.5 billion euros. According to Borrell, it is too early to talk about a final decision, since the foreign ministers only agreed to consider this proposal.
The European diplomat noted that the money will go not only to help Ukraine, but also to support other countries in need.
Peace plan for Ukraine
Josep Borrell noted that in addition to the war, one should also talk about the peace that will come in Ukraine. He said that European partners are discussing with Kiev how the world will be built after the victory.
The High Representative of the European Union stressed that he supports the “peace formula” from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Putin could be detained in 130 countries
European diplomat Borrell supported the decision of the international criminal court to issue an arrest warrant for Putin because of the criminal deportations of Ukrainian children to Russia. For its part, the EU will continue to work to identify those involved in the deportation of children, with a view to adopting a further restrictive message.
The representative of the European Union stressed that even if Russia has not signed the convention of the international criminal court, the warrant must be implemented. Therefore, Putin can be detained in 130 countries if he goes there on a visit.
Cooperation between China and Russia
When asked by journalists about the military cooperation between China and Russia, Josep Borrell did not confirm the supply of weapons by China. According to him, this topic was not considered by the ministers during the meetings.
I can only tell you one thing: I have no evidence that China has provided weapons to Russia, whether it plans to do so. I have no evidence that this has already happened, and I have no evidence that they are preparing to do it,” the diplomat said.
Borrell noted that the plan presented by China on Ukraine should not be taken as a peaceful formula. This document only demonstrates the position of the country in relation to the war.