The EU has drawn up a plan to support thesummer offensive of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, supplying the country attacked by Russia with one million artillery rounds by the end of the year. As reported by the newspaper "Handelsblatt", which viewed the document, the strategy was prepared on the initiative of theEstonia and should be approved by the European Council, scheduled in Brussels on 23 and 24 March. The draft plan states that the heads of state and government of EU member countries welcome "the facilitation of the immediate supply of ammunition for Ukraine, including through joint procurement, with the aim of delivering one million of artillery ammunition by the end of 2023”. As “Handelsblatt” notes, the passage has not yet been definitively agreed and the wording could still change.
Meanwhile, Poland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Finland and Romania are pressing for "a concrete promise" on the supply of bullets to Ukraine. France has signaled its support, while Germany is still evaluating the initiative, while already committing to place "immediate" ammunition orders for Ukraine. Meanwhile, the military situation in the former Soviet republic and the political context are increasingly worrying EU diplomats. For a source of "Handelsblatt", if Ukraine does not make a change in the conflict by next summer at the latest, it may no longer be able to do so: "It is now or never".
Through partial mobilization, Russia has raised another 300 troops, thus stabilizing the front. Battles of attrition in eastern Ukraine are a burden on both warring sides. However, while Moscow is losing "mostly recruits", the fallen Ukrainians are mostly seasoned veterans. In the EU, there are therefore doubts that the counteroffensive planned by Ukraine for the spring and summer will be able to push the Russian army out of the territories under its control. The shortage of ammunition aggravates the situation: the former Soviet republic has to ration artillery shells because it uses many more than Europe and the United States can produce. At the same time, the stocks of bullets of the states pledged to support Kiev have drastically reduced due to transfers to the country attacked by Russia, so much so that "almost nothing can be delivered". In Europe and the United States, the resistance of the Armed Forces against further shipments is growing. According to EU sources, we are facing a "huge problem".
Member states have long looked outside Europe to cover Ukraine's ammunition needs, but are reluctant. For example, South Korea has significant reserves of 155mm ammunition, which the country attacked by Russia needs for the weapons it has obtained from the West. However, in the face of the threat posed by North Korea, Seoul is hesitant to supply these shells. Meanwhile, analyzes are circulating in Brussels according to which Ukraine is currently using 110 grenades a month, but 300 would be needed every 30 days for the counter-offensive to be successful. In the meantime, in addition to the military situation, the political context is becoming more and more complicated. In the US, for example, support for Ukraine is meeting with growing criticism in the Republican Party.
Sedondo Ron DeSantis, who the Republicans could run for the White House, described Russia's war against Ukraine as a "territorial dispute", foreign to the national interest of the United States. According to "Handelsblatt", such statements could encourage Moscow to continue the conflict despite the heavy losses, in order to find itself in a favorable position after a possible change of presidency of the United States. In this context, for an EU diplomat "Ukraine's imminent offensive is crucial" and, if it fails, the consequences would be "dramatic" both for the country attacked by Russia and for the security of Europe.
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