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EU boss calls for ‘war economy’

The EU must reimagine its military strategy and drastically ramp up its defense production in order to help Ukraine in its ongoing conflict with Russia, European Council President Charles Michel said on Monday. He made his call as Kiev has been increasingly warning about ammunition shortages. 

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“Russia is a serious military threat to our European continent and global security. If we do not get the EU’s response right and do not give Ukraine enough support to stop Russia, we are next,” Michel wrote in an op-ed published in the newspaper La Libre Belgique and news website Euractiv. 

The EU chief argued that “for decades, Europe has failed to invest sufficiently in our security and defense,” and now urgently needs a “a radical and irreversible shift in our thinking towards a strategic security mindset.” 

We must therefore be defense-ready and shift to a ‘war economy’ mode. It’s time to take responsibility for our security. We can no longer count on others or be at the mercy of election cycles in the US or elsewhere.

The bloc’s defense production has increased by 50% since the start of the conflict in February 2022, Michel said, adding that the bloc will “double ammunition production to over 2 million shells yearly, by the end of next year.”

The EU has been struggling to procure enough weapons and ammunition for Kiev’s needs as Ukrainian and international politicians and experts, as well as soldiers of the battlefield, are blaming shortages for the losses of territory to Russia. The shipments were further delayed when US President Joe Biden’s $61 billion aid package got stuck in Congress due to the political in-fighting between Democrats and Republicans. The bill remains stalled due to the opposition of some GOP legislators.

The situation with the supply of Western air defense systems is particularly dire, according to the New York Times. The newspaper cited an official US assessment in early February that, without replenishment, Ukraine’s air defenses could operate only until March 2024.

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky has renewed his call for additional deliveries, warning in February that an “artificial deficit of weapons” would only help Russia.

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