BRUSSELS (AP) — Weapons stocks in the European Union are running low as member countries continue to sends arms and ammunition to Ukraine, the bloc’s top diplomat warned Monday as he urged EU nations to better coordinate their spending on military materiel.
“The military stocks of most member states has been, I wouldn’t say exhausted, but depleted in a high proportion, because we have been providing a lot of capacity to the Ukrainians,” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said in a debate with European lawmakers.
“It has to be refilled. The best way of refilling is doing that together. It will be cheaper,” Borrell said.
At a meeting in the Czech Republic last week, EU defense ministers debated ways to better pool military materiel and resources, but also to bulk purchase ammunition and weapons like air defense systems which Ukraine continues to need.
Borrell warned Monday that if member countries keep expanding their military capabilities in the same way, “the result will be a big waste of money, because this is not a way of canceling our duplications — there are a lot of them — or filling our gaps.”
Borrell also rued what he believes was a missed opportunity for the 27-nation EU to begin training the Ukrainian armed forces a year ago, many months before Russia launched its invasion in February, after several member countries requested such an operation.
“Unhappily we didn’t, and today we regret. We regret that last August we were not following this request, fulfilling this request,” he said. Had the EU responded at the time, Borrell said, “we would be in a better situation.”