Ursula von der Leyen: EU to jointly procure ammunition for Ukraine
The European Union will start jointly procuring "urgent military supplies" for Ukraine including ammunition, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said during a visit to Tallinn on Friday.
Speaking at a press conference, she said the EU will continue to support Ukraine's economic and military resilience.
"We aim to train 30,000 Ukrainian soldiers in the European Union. Our member states are delivering military equipment. And we will turn to joint procurement to deliver urgent military supplies for Ukraine, such as 155 millimeter ammunition," von der Leyen said, adding Europe must ramp up its defense industry to help both Ukraine and replenish Europe's stocks.
Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) has previously suggested the EU jointly procure weapons for Ukraine in a similar way it procured coronavirus vaccines for member states.
"Dear Kaja, you so rightly brought attention to this at the last European Council and we are taking action," von der Leyen said.
The president is visiting Tallinn today along with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg to attend Estonia's 105th Independence Day celebrations.
The day is exactly a year since Russia launched its full-scale war on Ukraine.
All three top officials praised Ukraine's bravery and promised to continue supporting the country.
"Putin has not given up on his goals. He wants a different Europe where Russia can dictate what neighbors do. He is not preparing for peace, he is preparing for more war. So we must give Ukraine what they need to prevail," Stoltenberg said.
Von der Leyen said: "Ukrainians are fighting for the right to choose their own future and they have already chosen. They have chosen the European Union. They have chosen the unity of principles, as [Estonian] President Lennart Meri said."
Sweden, Finland NATO bids progressing
Stoltenberg said Finland and Sweden's NATO membership bids are progressing.
He said 28 of 30 member states have already ratified the agreements.
Discussions will restart with Turkey next month and Hungry will start the ratification process this month he said.
Stoltenberg said this has been the quickest application process in NATO's history.
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Editor: Helen Wright