The US and NATO are trying to arm Ukraine and replenish their own arsenals

Given Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 and the war in the Donbass region, NATO’s new military spending targets – 2 percent of gross domestic product by 2024, of which 20 percent is for equipment rather than salaries and pensions – seem modest. But even these have been largely ignored by key member countries.

In February, when the war in Ukraine began, many nations’ stockpiles were about half what they had planned, the NATO official said, and there had been little progress in producing weapons used interchangeably by NATO countries could become.

Also within the European Union only 18 percent of defense spending of nations are cooperative.

For NATO countries that have supplied large quantities of arms to Ukraine, particularly frontline states like Poland and the Baltics, the burden of replacing them has proven heavy.

The French, for example, have provided some advanced weapons and created a €200 million ($208 million) fund for Ukraine to buy French-made weapons. But France has already given Ukraine at least 18 modern Caesar howitzers — about 20 percent of its total existing artillery — and is reluctant to provide more.

The European Union has approved €3.1 billion ($3.2 billion). repay member states for what they are providing to Ukraine, but that fund, the European Peace Facility, is almost 90 percent depleted.

Altogether, the NATO countries have provided Ukraine with around $40 billion in weapons so far, which is roughly equivalent to France’s annual defense budget.

Smaller countries have reached their potential, another NATO official said, with 20 of its 30 members “pretty busy”. But the remaining 10 can offer even more, he suggested, especially bigger allies. These include France, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands. The US and NATO are trying to arm Ukraine and replenish their own arsenals

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