Faced with US paralysis, European allies want to raise a $1.5 billion fund to arm Ukraine

European capitals are trying almost desperately to raise nearly $1.5 billion to supply Ukraine with artillery shells come from third countries. The aim is to strengthen its defense positions on the disputed front line with Russia, whose industry is capable of producing around two and a half million projectiles annually, according to estimates by the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI). An amount that wouldn’t be enough either.

The Czech Republic is leading this alternative plan Acquisition of ammunition outside the framework of the European Union. A coercive plan that responds to the delays in the joint production of the community partners and, above all, to the continued stagnation of US aid in the House of Representatives.

The White House lacks the resources to send Ukraine the weapons it needs. president Joe Biden He called on Congress in October to approve a new funding package that included $60 billion for Kyiv as well as funds for Israel and Taiwan. For months, Republicans refused to consider it, arguing that the border needed to be reinforced first given the record arrivals of undocumented migrants.

Finally, the Democratic-dominated Senate this month passed a $95 billion bill to support Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan. However, in order for the project to become law and for the funds to reach Ukraine, the next step must be a vote in the lower house, which is dominated by Republicans, and the president of the chamber, the Republican Michael JohnsonHe refused to do so under pressure from Trumpism.

Make up the deficit

The ongoing blockade situation and the eventual return of the former president Donald Trump During the presidential elections in November, they set alarm bells ringing in European law firms. There is a danger that they will have to deal with aid to Ukraine alone, without counting on the USA. For this reason, the Czech Republic has taken the initiative while the capitals discuss expanding the EU’s main military support mechanism for Kiev, it said Financial Times.

But Prague needs financial contributions from national governments because European Union capitals are divided over a proposal to increase the European Peace Fund, the main Community instrument for financing arms sales to Ukraine, by €5 billion.

Hence the Czech President Peter Pavela former general and senior NATO official, shocked delegates at the Munich Security Conference last weekend when he declared that Prague had a non-EU country with “half a million cartridges” of 155mm caliber and another 300,000 cartridges of 122mm caliber identifies caliber that we can deliver in a few weeks if we can find financing for it quickly.

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The head of European diplomacy, Josep Borrell, said the European Union’s annual production capacity will rise to 1.4 million shells by the end of 2024, surpassing that of the United States, which is expected to reach 1.2 million next year. The Twenty-Seven has set a goal of sending Ukraine one million shells from its reserves, production and purchases abroad by March this year, but only half of that is likely to be achieved.

The needs of Ukraine

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitro Kuleba, told his EU counterparts on Monday that Ukraine needed 2.5 million artillery shells this year but had only received 400,000. Ukrainian forces already have to drastically ration artillery fire, a strain that is preventing them from repelling Russian attacks. The clearest expression of these conditions is the fall of Avdiivka, a city liberated by Ukrainian troops last year, into Russian hands.

president Volodymyr Zelensky He attributed the defeat to a lack of ammunition. On that note, analysts Franz Stefan Gady And Michael Kofman In a report for the International Institute for Strategic Studies, they concluded that Ukraine would need between 75,000 and 90,000 artillery shells per month “to keep the war going defensively, and more than double that – between 200,000 and 250,000 – for a major offensive.” Both explain that “the Western coalition currently relies primarily on U.S. stocks to maintain the lower end of that number and does not have the ammunition to support a major offensive next year.”

Partners outside the USA

The European Union does not go alone. The Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, announced this Saturday, during his visit to Kiev to mark the second anniversary of the great war, a $3 billion aid package for Ukraine, including $320 million in military aid, to be delivered before the end of the year. and $2.4 billion in loans to Ukraine administered through the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The United Kingdom is also lagging behind. The conservative government Rishi Sunak committed this week to allocate almost 250 million pounds, about 293 million euros, to the production of artillery shells. Downing Street already promised Ukraine £2.5 billion in military aid for next year last month.

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