EU depleted military stockpiles helping Ukraine: Borrell
European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell underlines that the 27-nation bloc is running out of arms and military equipment as Brussels sends more arms to Kiev.
EU foreign and security policy chief Josep Borrell said Sunday the bloc had depleted its military hardware helping Ukraine and urged member states to bolster their defense capabilities.
"The depleted stockpiles resulting from the military support we provided to Ukraine are the most obvious example of our shortfalls. However, this comes on top of the ones inherited from past budget cuts and underinvestment," he wrote in a blog post.
Borrell argued that the EU's defensive capabilities and military expenditure did not meet the ones he claimed the bloc needed to counter security threats at hand.
"From 1999 to 2021, EU combined defense spending increased only by 20% - against 66% for the US, 292% for Russia, and 592% for China. Certainly, one has to take into account the starting level of the military capacities, but these figures show very different trends," he said.
He further argued that the EU needed to rake up military spending to afford modern and interoperable armed forces. He also stressed that Brussels needed to replenish its stockpile while proposing that the bloc augment its military capabilities within the next five years, mainly its air, cyber, and space-based defenses.
In the longer term, Borrell asserted, EU members must focus on procuring and building weapons together, such as main battle tanks, advanced anti-access/area denial assets, and space situational awareness equipment.
Since the start of the war, the United States has deployed more than 100,000 of its troops to NATO member states, and the European Union also chipped in, sending $500 million worth of arms and equipment to Kiev.
Germany was pondering giving armored vehicles to Slovenia in return for a shipment of Soviet-made T-72 tanks to Ukraine in light of mounting pressures on Berlin to pump more arms to Kiev as the war in the country unfolds, German media reported Thursday.
Under the swap deal, Germany would have sent Marder infantry fighting vehicles and Fuchs armored personnel carriers to its eastern NATO partner, Germany's N-TV broadcaster said.
Slovenia, in exchange, requested more modern hardware, including Puma and Boxer armored vehicles and Leopard 2 battle tanks.
Following these reports, The Washington Post reported Moscow sent a formal diplomatic note to the United States warning that Washington and Brussels' arms shipments were adding fuel to the fire of the war in Ukraine, stressing that this matter could bring upon "unpredictable consequences".