EU in ‘urgent war mode’ – top diplomat
European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell has called for more weapons for Ukraine and faster shipment of ammunition. His words come amid Western promises of new armament deliveries for Kiev and growing shortages in his bloc's own stocks.
“We are in urgent war mode,” Borrell said on Sunday, during the last day of the Munich Security Conference. He added that the conflict would be over if the shortage of ammunition was not resolved in “a matter of weeks.”
The diplomat bemoaned the depletion of European stockpiles, claiming that the Union “forgot about classical wars... only engaged in expeditionary forces and technological Blitzkrieg.”
He announced that the EU defense ministers will hold a special meeting on March 8-9 to attempt to resolve this issue. Borrell said that he will also present the idea of using the 3.6 billion euros ($3.6 billion) of the European Peace Facility to jointly buy ammunition for Kiev, using the EU’s experience in joint procurements of Covid-19 vaccines.
Borrell himself was wary of the ammunition shortages back in September, saying supplies were “depleted.” This assessment was echoed by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, who warned that the Alliance’s countries were running out of rounds they could donate to Kiev’s war effort.
Multiple EU countries and the US have pledged to send modern, Western-made tanks to Ukraine; however, the process will take months with no clear timetable. The UK and France are also mulling sending fighter jets to Kiev, with London already training pilots. However, French President Emmanuel Macron said earlier this month that sending warplanes was not something that could be done “in the coming weeks.”
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said earlier this month that the weapons shipments to Kiev would not stop Russia from achieving the goals of the military operation, but would instead just “prolong the suffering” for Ukraine.