Friday, April 12, 2024

Zelensky says EU gave Ukraine fewer shells than claimed as Russian military makes new gains in Donbass

Not only will the European Union miss its target to give Ukraine a million artillery shells by March, it will likely miss a revised target of 520,000, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky has stated.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell admitted last month that the bloc would not fulfil its promise to deliver a million 155mm artillery shells to Kiev by March. Due to delays in production, Borrell said that 52% of that number would reach Ukraine by next month, with the remainder due by the end of the year.

Speaking at a press conference in Kiev on Monday, Zelensky stated that “out of the million shells that the European Union promised us, not 50% came, but 30%, unfortunately”.

If Zelensky’s figures are accurate, no shells have been delivered since November, when Bloomberg reported that 30% of the one million had been sent to Ukraine. Again assuming that is the case, the EU now has only three days to hand over 220,000 shells in order to meet Borrell’s already revised target of 520,000.

With a $60 billion military aid bill stalled by Congress in the US, and with Europe’s military industry unable to scale up production to meet the demand, Kiev’s forces have struggled for several months with a shortage of ammunition.

Western media outlets have warned that the ammo deficit could lead to a complete “collapse” of the Ukrainian military, while President Zelensky claimed last week that his troops were forced to abandon the key Donbass stronghold of Avdeevka due to an “artificial shortage of weapons” seemingly imposed by the West.

Speaking at a conference on Sunday, Ukrainian Defense Minister Rustem Umerov alleged that half of all the weapons and ammunition promised by the West have shown up late.

“Allies are supposed to deliver aid on time during this war,” Umerov said, adding, “We have a plan. We’re working to execute the plan. We’re doing everything possible – and impossible – but we struggle without timely supplies.”

Without these supplies, Ukraine will “lose people, [and] lose territories,” the minister continued.

Russian forces have continued to advance westwards following the capture of Avdeevka, with the Russian Defense Ministry announcing the liberation of the nearby village of Lastochkino on Monday. Lastochkino fell just days after the ministry reported that the village of Pobeda was also in Russian hands.

Meanwhile, Russian troops have entered the village of Rabotino in Zaporozhye Region, local official Vladimir Rogov told TASS on Sunday. Notably, this was one of a handful of settlements taken by Ukrainian forces during their ill-fated summer counteroffensive. The entire offensive cost Kiev more than 160,000 men and thousands of pieces of heavy equipment, according to the Russian Defense Ministry.

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