In Greece, the Hellenic Defense Systems arms company is negotiating with international ammunition manufacturers to participate in a program to produce 155-mm calibre shells to support Ukraine and replenish EU stockpiles.
According to the Greek media Kathimerini’s sources, the talks are in absolute secrecy and are at a relatively “mature” stage. Their results are expected shortly, as the contracting period ends on September 30.
The article states that on May 10, a closed meeting was held in Brussels with the participation of representatives of the largest EU defence companies.
During the meeting, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell asked the participants to rapidly convey to national governments the initiative to produce one million shells for Ukraine by next spring and the need to create a European stockpile of large-calibre ammunition.
At the same time, the Greek media notes that Hellenic Defense Systems cannot produce all ammunition on its own.
Sources say that the company has the technical capability to take over the last stage of the production chain, which includes equipment, assembly and ammunition packaging.
Currently, Western partners are being sought for the first stage, which includes the case manufacture, charge, and other necessary materials for the munition.
In the spring, EU member states pledged to increase supplies of artillery shells to Ukraine as Ukrainian forces faced a shortage of much-needed ammunition in its war against Russian invaders.
The EU countries agreed on a two-billion-euro plan to supply ammunition from their stockpiles and place joint orders to produce shells. The goal was to transfer one million rounds of ammunition to Ukraine within 12 months.
The European Union Council authorized a plan on March 20 to provide Ukraine with one million artillery shells over a 12-month period.
The strategy is divided into three stages. In the first step, EU member states will deliver shells from their stockpiles to Kyiv in exchange for compensation from the European Peace Fund, with a total of 1 billion euros allocated for this purpose.
This amount of money will be allocated in the second stage to sign contracts with artillery ammunition makers, after which the EU nations will enhance their own production capacity.