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European munitions production rising, but states not hurrying to purchase rounds

A Ukrainian soldier handling an artillery shell.
A Ukrainian soldier handling an artillery shell. Source: SCANPIX/ABACA/UKRINFORM/SMOLIYENKO DMYTRO

Although ammunition production in Europe has risen following a pledge last year to provide Ukraine with a million artillery shells and missiles, states are not in a rush to make procurements from private sector defense firms, ETV news show "Aktuaalne kaamera" (AK) reported Thursday.

Late last year, reports stated that the EU would miss the deadline of March, so far as providing the million large-caliber rounds to Ukraine goes.

While the largest EU nation, Germany, is assembling a billion-euro ammunition supply, as part of an €8-billion aid package to Ukraine, these supplies will not reach Ukraine this year, even as we are still in the first month of the year.

Estonia has been in the forefront of the project.

Defense Minister Hanno Pevkur (Reform) told AK that: "The orders from the various countries have not yet come in. That Estonia put €280 million towards the market [for the purchase of ammunition] last year demonstrated industry is ready to receive it."

Magnus Saar, Director General of the Defense Investment Center, said "My view is that as of today, perhaps over the perspective of four to five years, Europe's ammunition output will not have been fully sold."

Ramil Lipp, armaments category manager at the RKIK, said that current prices actually reflect pre-Ukraine war levels, and the same can be said of delivery times.

European states would have to either deplete their own ammunition stocks in order to supply Ukraine, or find the funds to procure ammunition, yet so far this has not led to a heating up of large-caliber munitions output by European firms, AK reported.

Production volumes have increased, but states are in no hurry to make procurements.

The output for this year will be 1.3 million large-caliber rounds by year-end, Minister Pevkur said, across Europe, though this doesn't explain how the million-round pledge to Ukraine can be fulfilled by the spring.

Minister of Defense Hanno Pevkur. Source: ERR

Pevkur said: "Admittedly this is a tricky situation but we won't let it lie. We are going to Brussels next week, clear in the knowledge that states must at least make a contribution."

Minister Pevkur said around a third of the total number of artillery shells due earmarked for Ukraine have been manufactured, a second third have been pledged, and the final third is still to be accounted for, and not something which could be drawn from European stockpiles.

Pevkur said that Estonia had fulfilled its pledges and set the example, while this final missing third could be amassed together, with Estonia prepared to contribute again "either in the form of shells or of money - our interest is that the aid to Ukraine goes on."


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Editor: Andrew Whyte, Merili Nael

Source: 'Aktuaalne kaamera,' reporter Vahur Lauri.

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