News2023.03.09 11:49

EU funding for Ukraine’s defence still insufficient, Lithuanian minister says

BNS 2023.03.09 11:49

With EU member countries discussing plans to supply Ukraine with ammunition worth a billion euros, Lithuanian Defence Minister Arvydas Anušauskas says that this funding is still insufficient.

“In my opinion, it is not yet sufficient, even though there is talk of a billion euros or more,” Anušauskas told the Žinių Radijas radio station on Thursday. “But some kind of a start has to be made, because the defence industry also needs a stimulus.”

“[The industry’s] capacities are being expanded, but in Europe they are not yet sufficient to meet the needs of Ukraine and, in fact, of all countries, including Lithuania which is also looking to buy ammunition and beef up its own security,” he said.

While the EU’s funding is an important contribution to supporting Ukraine in its fight against Russia’s aggression, in order to accelerate the production of weapons, the defence industry needs investment and, at the same time, guarantees that the need for arms “will not be just a one-year thing”, according to the minister.

“Of course, no one can give such guarantees because they do not know how the situation is going to evolve. However, the steps that are being taken are opening the way for the industry’s greater involvement in meeting the needs,” he said.

EU defence ministers on Wednesday discussed plans to send a billion euros’ worth of ammunition to Ukraine from their own stocks in the coming weeks and to place joint orders for more to ensure uninterrupted supplies.

Among other things, the plan calls for using a billion euros from the bloc’s joint European Peace Facility.

Final political decisions are expected to be made at the European Council’s meeting in March.

Kyiv’s supporters warn that Ukraine is facing a critical shortage of 155-millimeter howitzer shells as it fires thousands each day.

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