EU arms stocks are running low, warns Josep Borrell

EU arms stocks are running low, warns Josep Borrell

Europe’s arms stocks are running low despite EU member states’ efforts to send military aid to Ukraine, EU chief diplomat Josep Borrell warned on Monday (September 5). He reiterated his calls for better European coordination in military support to Ukraine.

“The military stocks of most member states are, I would say not exhausted, but significantly reduced because we have made a lot of material available to the Ukrainians.”said Mr Borrell during a debate with MPs.

“We need to replenish our stocks. This is best done together. It will be cheaper”he added.

To ensure faster delivery, much of the armaments Europe is currently shipping to Ukraine comes from each member country’s national stocks.

However, this means that some member states are also struggling to replenish their own reserves quickly.

The call comes a week after EU defense ministers discussed how to better pool military resources for Ukraine’s war effort in Prague.

At the same time, Mr. Borrell also criticized the member states for having decided very late to train the Ukrainian armed forces.

Last week, EU defense ministers approved the start of preparations to set up an EU military training mission for Ukraine’s armed forces. This mission would complement the current efforts of the various member countries.

In recent weeks, several member states have individually trained Ukrainian armed forces, mostly allowing them to use weapons they have supplied themselves.

“Unfortunately, we did not act in a coordinated manner, which we regret today”said Mr. Borrell.

According to sources close to the file, Ukraine’s foreign and defense ministers wrote to Mr Borrell in the summer of 2021 calling for the establishment of a training program, and the EU diplomatic service had developed several options.

In February, just before Russia invaded Ukraine, EU ministers reached a tentative agreement to conduct such a military training mission in the country, but advance conflicts have hampered progress since then.

If the European Union had reacted more quickly in February, “We would be in a better situation”said Mr. Borrell.

Prime Minister of Ukraine Denys Shmyhal “Expressed a clear desire to advance this dossier according to the needs of Ukraine”wrote Mr. Borrell in a blog post on Sunday (4 September).

“If member states agree, we could launch this mission in the coming weeks“, he added.

The European Union has mobilized €2.5 billion to finance the shipment of military equipment to Ukraine since the Russian invasion began on February 24.


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