Pevkur in Brussels: We have to considerably speed up defence procurements
Today in Brussels at the Foreign Affairs Council meeting, EU defence ministers discussed the continuing military aid to Ukraine during Russia’s war of aggression, as well as progress in sending artillery ammunition to Ukraine.
At the meeting, minister Pevkur emphasised that “Military aid to Ukraine – arms, ammunition and training – must continue intensively, and we must continue seeking out new opportunities, which also means considerably speeding up defence procurements. For Ukraine to be able to push Russia out of its territory, the military aid must be sustainable. In the context of the European Union, this means adopting the 8th military aid package to Ukraine and directing an additional 3,5 billion euros to the European Peace Facility.”
On the topic of the million rounds of ammunition initiative, Minister of Defence Pevkur said that with this initiative the EU has now taken the first steps towards long-term military support to Ukraine. Additionally, it boosts European strategic defence capability through increasing ammunition manufacturing on European soil. “In just five weeks, we in the EU agreed on sending a million rounds to Ukraine in one year. Now the necessary mechanisms have been activated, but the pace needs to be picked up. Estonia has done its share of the first pillar, which deals with sending existing stocks, and we believe that other Member States are also making great efforts. We can evaluate the results of the first pillar in mid-July, however, the final picture will come together from all three pillars generating results,” explained Minister of Defence Pevkur.
The second pillar of the EU ammunition initiative sets out Member States’ joint procurement for sending aid to Ukraine, and the recently published third pillar proposition from the European Commission foresees the allocation of 500 million euros from the EU budget towards increasing the supply of ammunition and missiles in Europe through ramping up the manufacturing capacity of the defence industry, opening new manufacturing lines, improving supply chains and the availability of raw materials.
In addition to efforts aimed at invigorating the defence industry to speed up aid to Ukraine and increase the defence capabilities of Member States, the EU has also contributed to training Ukrainian defence forces through the training mission EUMAM. “EUMAM has fulfilled its objective effectively – over half of EU Member States contribute, and altogether the goal is to train 30 000 Ukrainian troops by the end of 2023. Estonia will also continue contributing to training efforts, as well as looking for additional opportunities to support Ukraine,” said Pevkur.
The European Union defence ministers also met with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg to discuss defence cooperation between the EU and NATO.
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Photos: Kaitseministeerium | Flickr