NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has sharply criticized European states for failing to provide the assistance to Kyiv that they themselves had promised. EPA-EFE/FILIP SINGER


Ukraine: NATO’s Stoltenberg blasts EU over military support ‘shortfalls’


NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has sharply criticised the European Union for failing to provide military assistance it had promised to Ukraine.

During a meeting of the Atlantik-Brücke group in Berlin on April 25, Stoltenberg accused member states of having fallen particularly short on its promises to hand over ammunition.

“In Europe, the delivery of ammunition is far below the levels we said we would provide,” the NATO boss said.

“These delays have consequences,” he added. “Ukraine has been outgunned, allowing Russia to push forward on the front line.”

Speaking to Brussels Signal, a source within the European defence industry cited production backlogs as being one of the main reasons why countries were so unwilling to hand over munitions.

They cited the example of Eurofighter production, with delays to aircraft deliveries prompting EU member-states to hold off from handing over their older F-16s to Ukraine.

“Since the beginning of the war, so many orders have come in that we have to continually push back delivery times,” they said.

“We have work for years, especially in aerospace.”

Stoltenberg’s observations came in the midst of the European arms industry restructuring process, which will see around €1 billion invested over the next few years in various items, including war bonds — as Brussels has announced on several occasions.

In the meantime, Europe is struggling to keep its munitions supply above water, with Theo Francken MP of the Belgian N-VA party revealing on April 19 that Belgian ammunition stocks are at just 7 per cent of the level required by NATO.

He is not the only one raising concerns in this regard: Former General Marc Thays acknowledged in February that Belgium is “in deep shit” over ammunition shortages

Aid to Kyiv is meanwhile being delivered in piecemeal.

Madrid, according to Spanish media, will send a few Patriot missiles to Ukraine as part of what was committed months ago and which were purchased second-hand from Germany in 2004 and 2014.

“We need to step up our commitment to Ukraine,” a Spanish diplomatic source told foreign reporters on April 25.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis meanwhile said that Athens cannot afford to hand over its air defence systems to Ukraine, saying that it needs to keep its Patriot and S-300 missile systems at home to defend against other threats.

“We were asked and we explained why we cannot do it,” Mitsotakis said, adding that those systems are “critical to our deterrent capability”.

In the past, Greece had sent thousands of rockets and high explosives, ammunition and anti-tank rockets along with numbers of infantry fighting vehicles to Ukraine.