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NATO ambassador: Allies helping Ukraine will not leave their own warehouses empty

Estonian Ambassador to NATO Jüri Luik.
Estonian Ambassador to NATO Jüri Luik. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

Countries helping Ukraine will not give away all their ammunition because NATO's defense plans state Allies must have their own supplies, Estonia's Ambassador to NATO Jüri Luik said on Friday.

The European Union promised to give Ukraine one million shells by March 2024, but will only provide half that figure. The rest will be delivered by the end of the year, Minister of Defense Hanno Pevkur (Reform) said this week.

Luik argued very few shells were produced before the outbreak of full-scale war.

"For example, the United States produced 30,000 projectiles per month. But next year Ukraine will need two million projectiles. So these scales are totally inappropriate for the current challenge," he said.

Luik said the U.S. has now intensively launched projectile production, and work is also underway in Europe for this purpose.

"In the USA, it's a national effort, the American military, so they have all kinds of tools to get it up and running quickly that come from national capabilities. But in Europe, we have to get it going with market methods, and there is a lot of work going on. And while we didn't manage to deliver those million shells by March, hopefully we will by the end of the year, as the European Union promised," said Luik.

Luik confirmed that NATO member states will not give away all their stocks to Ukraine.

"Under no circumstances will your stocks be left empty. In NATO, certain standards are necessary to implement defense plans. In any case, NATO countries have to keep this stock in their warehouses, it cannot be given away. [National warehouses] are just missing the part that can be given away to Ukraine and that now has to be produced and sent there," he said.

"After all, we actually buy ammunition from third countries now. The big ammunition producers are South Korea, for example, even South Africa, but these countries do not allow their ammunition to be sent to Ukraine. So this ammunition can be used temporarily by the countries of the European Union to make up this kind of gap, and ammunition produced in Europe is sent to Ukraine," Luik added.

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Editor: Merili Nael, Helen Wright

Source: Source: "Ringvaade", interviewed by Grete Lõbu

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