Thierry Breton, the European Commissioner for the Internal Market, announced this commitment during a press conference with Estonian Prime Minister Kaya Callas in Tallinn, as reported by RTBF.
- Production Goals: Breton indicated that by March-April 2024, the EU aims to reach a production milestone of 1 million projectiles per year.
- Support for Ukraine: The majority of these shells produced in 2024 are intended for Ukraine as military aid. Supporting Ukraine in its conflict against Russian aggression is a top priority for Europe.
- Current Supply Status: Despite previous EU commitments to provide one million artillery shells to Ukraine by March 2024, only 480,000 had been delivered as of December 2023. Of these, just 60,000 came from the joint procurement plan.
- Operational Challenges for Ukraine: The Ukrainian armed forces have faced limitations in their operations due to a shortage of artillery shells from Western allies.
- Alternative Sources: To mitigate these shortages, the Ukrainian military has started using 155-mm projectiles manufactured in India at the front.
Breton's statement underscores the EU's dedication to bolstering Ukraine's defense capabilities in the face of Russian aggression. The planned increase in shell production signifies a critical step in ensuring continuous support for Ukraine's military needs.