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EU likely to miss 1 million-round ammunition target for Ukraine, says Germany as war grinds on

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Germany’s defense minister, Boris Pistorius, has warned that the European Union’s goal of supplying Ukraine with 1 million rounds of artillery ammunition is unlikely to be achieved. The EU member states are working with industry to ramp up production, but they may miss a key target. In March, EU member states agreed to provide Ukraine with 1 million rounds of artillery ammunition for Ukraine to be delivered within 12 months.

Both Ukraine and Russia need to replenish extraordinary amounts of ammunition as a grinding war of attrition continues in Ukraine’s east and south. North Korea has exported more than 1 million shells to Russia since early August. The US has also been ramping up ammunition production to supply Ukraine. Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said Kyiv urgently needed the EU to ramp up its ability to supply ammunition for the Ukrainian military.

Western allies have been openly concerned about their ability to provide Kyiv with the amount of ammunition it requires and their ability to manufacture fast enough to replenish dwindling stocks. Western manufacturing of conventional ammunition went into decline following the end of the Cold War, as countries focused instead on modern equipment. Very few seriously believed another large-scale land war would take place in Europe.

This “dressing the shop window” approach helps understand why European countries had low ammunition stocks going into the Ukraine conflict, but doesn’t explain why things didn’t dramatically improve in the year that followed. Experts point to a range of factors, including limits to production increases that can be done quickly, more significant boosts to output that will be expensive and take time to implement.