1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

Ukraine updates: EU agrees €2 billion ammo plan for Kyiv

March 20, 2023

Ukraine has welcomed the boost, calling it a "very strong step to protect European security." Meanwhile, China's premier is in Moscow to discuss his peace plan for Ukraine with Vladimir Putin. Follow DW for the latest.

A pile of ammunition near Bakhmut
Ukraine is using far more shells in the fight against Russia than its allies are producingImage: Narciso Contreras/AA/picture alliance

European Union ministers signed off on a plan to supply €2 billion ($2.1 billion) worth of ammunition to Ukraine on Monday.

The bloc aims to deliver 1 million 155-millimeter artillery shells to Ukraine in the next 12 months as well as replenish EU stocks.

Under the plan, €1 billion will be used to reimburse EU members that immediately supply Ukraine with ammunition from their own existing stockpiles.

Another €1 billion will be used to jointly fast track orders of ammunition specifically for Ukraine.

The agreement aims to accelerate deliveries, and comes amid concerns that Ukraine is using more shells than its Western allies are producing. 

Kyiv had urged the EU to send it more ammunition, saying that its forces had resorted to rationing firepower as they try to prevent Russian troops from advancing further. 

German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said the "starting signal" had been given and that Kyiv could count on receiving a significant amount of ammunition this year.

"We are grateful to the EU for approving a plan to purchase ammunition for Ukraine for €2 billion," the Ukrainian presidential administration's chief of staff Andriy Yermak said. "This is a very strong step to protect European security."

Here are some of the other notable developments concerning the war on Monday, March 20:

War in Ukraine 'may take a long time' — Scholz

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said that Russia's war in Ukraine may not end any time soon.

"We have to be prepared for the fact that it may take a long time," Scholz said during talks arranged by the Rheinische Post daily publication in the city of Düsseldorf.

"Even once the war is over, everything will not be normal straight away. But we should also not stop our efforts to ensure that the war comes to an end," the German leader added.

Scholz said that a prerequisite for a just peace was that Moscow begin to withdraw troops.

Ukraine says Russian missiles exploded in transit

Ukraine's military said that Russian cruise missiles had been destroyed while being transported in the north of the Russian-occupied Crimean peninsula.

"An explosion in Dzhankoi city in the north of temporarily occupied Crimea destroyed Russian Kalibr-KN cruise missiles as they were being transported by rail," the ministry's intelligence directorate said in social media posts.

The ministry said the missiles were intended for use by Russia's Black Sea fleet.

The Russian-installed head of the Dzhankoi administration, Ihor Ivin, was quoted as saying the city had come under attack from drones.

Russian state news agency TASS quoted Ivin as having said on local media that several buildings were damaged, including a school.

Russian National Guard dismisses general accused of corruption

Russian military investigators have launched a criminal case against Major General Vadim Dragomiretsky.

Dragomiretsky is the deputy commander of the central district of Russia's National Guard. He was accused of receiving bribes of 19 million rubles ($250,000, €233,000), lawmaker Alexander Khinshtein said.

"By decision of Russian National Guard Director Viktor Zolotov, documents have been sent on the release of Dragomiretsky from his duties with his subsequent dismissal," Khinshtein said.

"Obviously, under the weight of the evidence, Dragomiretsky was forced today to admit his guilt and even to write a confession," he said.

Khinshtein said that the investigation showed the "determination of the Russian National Guard leadership in the business of purifying their ranks.

The lawmaker said Dragomiretsky was suspected of receiving bribes from a contractor who reconstructed a military unit in the Moscow region. A colonel in charge of the base was also detained on Sunday, Khinshtein said.

Norway sends 8 tanks to Kyiv

Norway has delivered eight Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, the Norwegian armed forces said.

The battle tanks have arrived and are ready for deployment.

"For Ukraine, the donation of tanks will be crucial for its ability to conduct offensive operations and retake territories occupied by Russia," Lieutenant Colonel Lars Jansen said.

Norway announced in February that it would give Kyiv eight of its 36 older 2A4'type Leopard tanks. It said that it would also send four escort vehicles and ammunition and spare parts.

Wagner chief warns of coming Ukrainian attack

The head of Russia's Wagner group, Yevgeny Prigozhin, has urged Russia's defense minister to take all available measures to prevent his mercenary forces from being cut off from Russian troops in eastern Ukraine. 

In a letter to Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, Prigozhin said the Ukrainian army was planning a "large-scale attack" in late March or early April. He said the fresh offensive would seek to leave Wagner forces isolated.

"I ask you to take all necessary measures to prevent the Wagner private military company being cut off from the main forces of the Russian army, which will lead to negative consequences for the special military operation," he said.

Moscow refers to its war in Ukraine as a "special military operation."

Prigozhin also said in the letter that his troops control around 70% of the eastern Ukrainian town of Bakhmut — the scene of the longest battle of the war.

The Wagner boss has frequently criticized the defense minister over developments in the conflict, but it was the first time he had published such correspondence.

Ukrainian, Russian losses mount in battle for Bakhmut

US pledges $350 million in additional military aid to Ukraine

The United States has authorized a new military aid package for Ukraine valued at $350 million (€326 million).

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the package included ammunition for US-provided HIMARS rocket launchers, as well as ammunition for Bradley armored fighting vehicles, HARM missiles, anti-tank weapons and other equipment.

The announcement came as Chinese President Xi Jinping was in Moscow to discuss the conflict with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"Russia alone could end its war today. Until Russia does, we will stand united with Ukraine for as long as it takes," Blinken said.

He added that he was skeptical of Xi's "peace" proposals put forward last month, warning they could be a "stalling tactic" to help Russia on the ground in Ukraine.

"The world should not be fooled by any tactical move by Russia, supported by China or any other country, to freeze the war on its own terms," Blinken said.

China warns ICC against 'double standards'

China has called on the International Criminal Court (ICC) to avoid "politicization and double standards" after after the tribunal issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin on war crimes charges.

During a media briefing on Monday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin also called on the ICC to "uphold an objective and impartial stance" and "respect the immunity of heads of state from jurisdiction under international law."

China is not a signatory to the Rome Statute, the United Nations treaty which governs the court.

Russia and the United States are among a handful of countries that initially signed the Rome Statute, only to later declare they would not ratify the treaty.

Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev also criticized Putin's arrest warrant on Monday.

"They decided to try a president of... a nuclear power that does not participate in the ICC on the same grounds as the United States and other countries," Medvedev wrote on Telegram.

"The consequences for international law will be monstrous."

Can Putin be arrested? Law professor Stefanie Bock

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said the arrest warrant was one of a number of "hostile displays" against Putin.

"We note them, but if we took every one to heart, nothing good would come of it. Therefore we look at this calmly, note everything attentively and continue to work," he told reporters on Monday.

Russia opens probe into ICC

Russia's Investigative Committee said on Monday that it had opened its own criminal investigation into ICC prosecutor Karim Khan, who issued an arrest warrant for Vladimir Putin.

The investigation also extends to several ICC judges who were involved in the arrest warrant.

The Investigative Committee claimed the decision to seek Putin's arrest was "unlawful" because heads of state enjoy absolute immunity from the jurisdiction of foreign states.

It said Khan's actions may have breached two Russian laws relating to accusing an innocent person of a crime, and "preparing an attack on a representative of a foreign state enjoying international protection, in order to complicate international relations."

Ukraine and UK ink trade deal

The United Kingdom signed a new trade deal with Ukraine on Monday designed to help with the reconstruction effort after the war.

The deal will allow Ukrainian businesses to trade with the UK using electronic transactions, e-signatures and e-contracts.

"The historic digital trade deal signed today paves the way for a new era of modern trade between our two countries," British Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch said.

The UK will also extend its arrangement to cut all tariffs on goods imported from Ukraine until March, 2024.

Xi meets with Putin in Moscow

Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in the Russian capital on Monday to meet with an increasingly isolated Putin.

The two leaders are expected to discuss Beijing's proposal for a cease-fire, while the Kremlin also said Putin would provide "clarifications" on Russia's point of view.

Xi and Putin were scheduled to have an "informal" one-on-one meeting and dinner on Monday before formal negotiations on Tuesday.

Chinese President Xi Jinping visits Moscow

Xi described his three-day trip as a "journey of friendship, cooperation and peace." Analysts say China is attempting to present itself as a neutral mediator in the conflict.

In the lead-up to the meeting, Putin praised China's "balanced" stance on the conflict in an article he wrote for a Chinese newspaper.

More DW coverage on the war in Ukraine

German arms manufacturer Rheinmetall, which manufactures the Leopard 2 tank, has seen its share price more than double since Russia invaded Ukraine. DW reports how Rheinmetall will now be listed on the DAX index alongside giants like Volkswagen and Siemens.

The Czech Republic has welcomed an unprecedented number of refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine — the largest intake of migrants in its history. DW looks at how many Ukrainian refugees are thriving in their new home.

kb,zc/es (Reuters, AFP, AP, dpa)

Skip next section Explore more