The essentials in brief:
- EU wants to boost ammunition production
- Zelenskyj: The counter-offensive is “not progressing quickly”.
- MAD warns of increasing espionage from Russia
The Ukrainian armed forces can hope for significantly more ammunition and missile deliveries from the European Union in the long term. On Friday night, representatives of the governments of the member states and the European Parliament agreed on a plan with which the European armaments industry should be given financial incentives to rapidly expand production capacities. It was proposed by the EU Commission in May and envisages spending 500 million euros from the EU budget.
The agreement is further evidence of the EU’s tireless commitment to supporting Ukraine, commented Spanish Defense Minister Margarita Robles for the current EU Council Presidency. It also demonstrates the commitment to strengthening the EU’s defense technological and industrial base and ensuring the long-term security and defense of EU citizens.
The background to the project is the difficulties of the EU states in supplying Ukraine with sufficient ground-to-ground and artillery ammunition and missiles for the defensive war against Russia. An expansion of production should now prevent further bottlenecks in the Ukrainian armed forces and also ensure that the EU states remain capable of defending themselves and can keep sufficient supplies. The agreement still has to be formally confirmed by the Council of Member States and Parliament. After the official adoption of the regulation, it could come into force before the end of July, according to EU information.
Zelenskyj: The counter-offensive is “not progressing quickly”.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has admitted that his army’s counter-offensive is “not progressing quickly” – but has assured that Ukrainian troops are still advancing. “The offensive is not fast, that’s for sure,” said Zelenskyj on Thursday evening in Prague after a meeting with Czech head of state Petr Pavel. “But we’re still advancing and not retreating like the Russians are doing,” he added.
With a view to the upcoming NATO summit in Lithuania, Zelenskyy confirmed that his country wanted to receive an “invitation” to join at the meeting. “We need honesty in our relations with NATO”. It was time to demonstrate “the courage and strength of this alliance”.
Czech President Pavel spoke out in favor of Ukraine starting NATO accession negotiations immediately after the end of the war. “It is also in the interest of our security, it is in the interest of regional stability and economic prosperity,” emphasized the former NATO general. The Czech Republic will also work to ensure that Ukraine’s accession negotiations to the EU begin this year, said Pavel.
MAD warns of increasing espionage from Russia
Germany’s military counter-intelligence service (MAD) warns of increased espionage from Russia against the Bundeswehr. “Since the beginning of the illegal Russian war of aggression against Ukraine in February 2022, Germany has positioned itself by supplying weapons, ammunition and equipment and training members of the Ukrainian armed forces in Germany and is being enlightened even more intensively by the Russian services,” writes the military intelligence service its annual report, which was sent to the Bundestag and is available to the German Press Agency.
The MAD has received additional staff for its tasks. According to the report, the MAD has had 1,917 posts since January 1, 2023 (2022: 1,824 posts; 2021: 1,632 posts). With a view to the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine, “strengthening counterintelligence and combating espionage and possible sabotage is more urgent than ever before,” according to the military counterintelligence service in its annual report. The MAD is the smallest of the German intelligence services and is tasked with protecting the armed forces from espionage, defending against extremists and security screening of soldiers and civilian employees.
AR/wa (rtr, afp, dpa)
This article will be continuously updated on the day of its publication. Reports from war zones cannot be independently verified.