Estonian formin: 1 mln artillery shells should be given to Ukraine under EU leadership

  • 2023-02-20
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN - Ukraine urgently needs one million artillery shells to defend itself and the security of all of Europe, Estonian Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Reinsalu said at the EU Foreign Affairs Council meeting in Brussels on Monday.

Reinsalu welcomed EU foreign ministers approving in principle the tenth package of sanctions on Monday along with the plan to enforce the package already before Feb. 24, which marks the passing of one year since the start of Russia's full-scale war in Ukraine. 

Reinsalu added that in addition to introducing new sanctions, it is equally as important to ensure that Russia cannot circumvent the present sanctions. 

"In addition to supplementary sanctions, we need to rapidly lower the price cap on oil, because Russia is using the profits earned from it to finance its war in Ukraine," he said. 

The Estonian minister underscored that Ukraine first and foremost needs weapons and ammunition to defend itself and the security of all of Europe, and the European Union could relay it to Ukraine through joint procurement.

"Ukraine urgently needs additional ammunition to defends itself and the security of Europe," he said. "According to Estonia's proposal, the EU states could provide one million artillery shells. At current production capacities, it will take Europe four years to produce this amount. Ukraine cannot wait that long. We need to significantly improve our production capacity -- Estonia proposes to do it within six months. We can only ensure Ukraine's victory if we act fast. It is my wish that decisions in principle should be made already within the coming weeks."

Discussions at the council meeting also included holding Russia accountable for the crimes committed in Ukraine.

"It is the moral responsibility of the international community to hold Russia's leaders accountable for the atrocities of war," Reinsalu said. 

The foreign ministers of the EU also met with their Moldovan counterpart Nicolae Popescu to discuss the impact of the Russian aggression on Moldova. 

"Estonia supports Moldova's path to the EU and we're ready to lend them a helping hand," Reinsalu said, and proposed to establish EU sanctions against Moldovan oligarchs who serve Russia's interests.

The EU foreign ministers were also scheduled to discuss the situation in Afghanistan and Iran and the EU's climate and energy diplomacy. A meeting was also held in the morning with Russian opposition activist Garry Kasparov.