Estonian FM: EU should jointly buy 1 million artillery shells for Ukraine

Urmas Reinalu and Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
Urmas Reinalu and Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs

European Union member states should jointly procure artillery shells to help Ukraine defend itself against Russia, Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Reinsalu said during a meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Friday.

The minister made the proposal during a visit to Ukraine this week.

"Ukraine is in urgent need of additional defense assistance. Estonia proposes for EU countries to provide Ukraine with one million artillery shells through a joint tender," Reinsalu (Isamaa) said.

He said Estonia would like to see aid-related decisions made as quickly as possible and the promised assistance to arrive in Ukraine without delay.

Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform) has previously called for member states to jointly procure weapons for Ukraine, similar to the coronavirus vaccine process.

Urmas Reinalu in Ukraine on March 3, 2023. Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs

EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen backed the idea during a visit to Estonia on Feburary 24.

Although neither mentioned procuring as many as 1 million shells.

On Friday Reinsalu met with Zelenskyy, Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba and Dutch Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra.

They discussed establishing an international tribunal for investigating Russia's crime of aggression, as well as defense assistance and the international situation.

Reinsalu said that Russia must be held accountable for its actions in Ukraine and it is the moral duty of the international community to ensure this.

"To prevent the impunity of Russia and its leadership, we must establish an international tribunal and bring perpetrators to justice," he said in a statement, adding Russia must also pay reconstruction costs.

Discussions also touched on Ukraine's path to the European Union and NATO.

"Estonia is completely supportive of Ukraine's path to the EU and the launch of accession talks as early as this year," Reinsalu said. "NATO's Vilnius summit must also provide Ukraine with a clear roadmap for joining the Alliance because there can be no grey security zones in Europe."

The visit will be Reinsalu's last before the election on Sunday.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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