Minister: Finland plans shell production boost to arm Ukraine

Finland plans to increase its artillery ammunition production in the next few weeks to arm Ukraine, Finnish Defense Minister Antti Hakkanen said in an interview with the Finnish newspaper Iltalehti published on Dec. 5.

The announcement comes amid worries that the EU will fail on its promise to supply Ukraine with 1 million shells by March 2024, just as Russia is ramping up its defense budget.

"We have finalized negotiations on how Finland will continue to increase its munition production to arm Ukraine," the minister said, adding that the final decision would likely be made before Christmas.

"The plan to significantly boost the munition production is currently being published. The goal is to support Ukraine even more than before,"  Hakkanen commented.

Finland plans to invest tens of millions of euros to hike the production, the minister said.

According to Hakkanen, supporting Ukraine is a crucial issue for Helsinki. The Nordic country made appeals to NATO and the EU to convince larger European countries to also manufacture and supply more arms for Kyiv.

The EU's plan to provide the 1 million shells has been plagued by bureaucracy and protectionism of individual countries. As of Nov. 30, 480,000 shells – less than half of the promised amount – have been delivered or are on their way, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said.

Helsinki announced its 20th military aid package for Ukraine worth 100 million euros ($109 million) on Nov. 17, adding to the total of $1.6 billion in defense assistance pledged since the start of Russia's full-scale invasion.

The Finnish government also proposed changes to the 2024 draft budget later in November to boost aid capacities for Ukraine.

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