(Bloomberg) -- French President Emmanuel Macron addressed a security conference in the Slovak capital Bratislava less than a year ago with an apology to Eastern Europe: “We did not always hear the voices you brought,” he said. “That time is over.”

Yet a row over how to replenish Ukraine’s critically low stocks of artillery shells — and where those supplies should be procured — is turning into a deeper rift in Europe, with east blaming west for failing to listen.

The mood in diplomatic circles is that should Russia ultimately win its war in Ukraine, Western Europe will not be forgiven and the whole European integration project since the fall of the Berlin Wall could be jeopardized as that rift becomes an indelible scar.

Governments in the west don’t understand that many in the east would never trust them again, one top European official said, declining to be identified when discussing politics and security.

European Union nations have debated for months whether to buy weapons from outside the 27-member bloc as it fails to meet commitments to provide Ukraine with 1 million artillery rounds by next month.

France, for one, argues that funding should mainly be spent on boosting the European defense industry for the longer term, what Macron last week called the “determined rearmament effort.”

At the same time, some eastern countries that have been raising the alarm over Russia for years are concerned that bigger, richer western states aren’t digging into their own military stocks enough. They are also preventing Ukraine from getting capabilities such as longer-range firepower. Ukraine needs support now, they say, not in 2027 when the industry is scaled up.

The underlining issue is a lack of strategic goal, instead trying to help Ukraine piecemeal, according to Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis, whose country borders Russia and has been a NATO hawk.

“We cannot have half measures, we cannot be foot-dragging on this,” he told reporters ahead of a ministerial meeting in Brussels this week. “This is the understanding in most of the Nordics and Baltics. This is the understanding in most of the eastern flank, those who are in direct threat themselves. If Ukraine falls — we need to understand — we’ll be next.”

Two years after Russia’s invasion of its neighbor, support for Ukraine is looking fragmented while momentum is shifting toward Vladimir Putin’s forces. 

Frustration among Eastern European leaders is growing because the west doesn’t seem to get the urgency, another official said. In one example, France — along with Greece and Cyprus — has argued against using EU funds to buy from NATO ally Turkey, according to several officials familiar with the matter, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

That’s despite the EU’s top diplomat, Josep Borrell, telling reporters on Monday that ammunition could be purchased on the international market. “If someone can supply it to you faster, cheaper, or more conveniently, there is no limitation,” he said. South Korea is another potential source of artillery, one of the officials said.

Czech President Petr Pavel said at the Munich Security Conference last weekend that his country had identified 500,000 rounds of 155mm shells and another 300,000 rounds of 122mm caliber that could be delivered within weeks if the money was made available. He didn’t name suppliers. The Czech Republic is now working to team up with others to source the ammunition.

If failure to step up arms shipments leads to a Russian victory, one European official said, their country wouldn’t purchase military hardware from France. Instead, they would buy from the US — even if Donald Trump is president again — the UK and Nordic nations, and choose them and what remains of Ukraine as more trustworthy allies, the person said.

The exasperation is also showing up at NATO. Mark Rutte, the outgoing Dutch prime minister, remains favorite to become the alliance’s next chief, but Eastern European nations have been seeking reassurances before giving their seal of approval, people familiar with the discussions said. The nomination of Romanian President Klaus Iohannis is seen as part of a broader push to ensure the region is listened to more at NATO and in the EU, said the people.

France is due to host a small gathering of leaders next week to discuss aid to Ukraine. Attendees will include Iohannis and Andrzej Duda, Poland’s head of state. Macron’s argument is that Europe must ramp up its own domestic capabilities and needs to hold back some supplies for its own defense.

Eastern leaders say they too want to boost Europe’s industry, but that needs to be coupled with what Ukraine desperately requires today given Russia’s pace of rearming. “They’ve gone on to a war footing and we’re still on a peacetime basis,” Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski told Bloomberg TV on Thursday. “We need to go into a crisis mode.”

Kyiv has warned allies that it’s facing a critical shortage of artillery and other supplies, just as $60 billion of assistance remains blocked in the US Congress. “The Ukrainians are fighting like lions, but you cannot fight with bare hands,’’ Sikorski told an event in New York on Friday. “That's why we need this US supplemental as soon as possible,” he said.

Ukraine’s troops are being outgunned by Russia and could have to narrow their defensive focus if shortages worsen, putting them at risk of Russian advances. Moscow has reached an artillery and refurbishment capacity of about 4 million rounds, according to some estimates, and has imported hundreds of thousands of shells and other armaments from North Korea and Iran.

Building a bigger defense industry and sending Ukraine weapons now aren’t mutually exclusive, according to Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas. While she didn’t know what each country had in their stocks, if Estonia could still find things to send Ukraine, bigger countries should have more they can send too, said Kallas.

“I think we have to do everything,” Kallas told Bloomberg in Munich last Sunday. “On one side, what is already being done in different member states is increasing the defense industry capacity. The other discussion is also trying to find in the world what is there and buying it to send to Ukraine now.”

Though much of the anger is directed at Macron, the officials said Germany should also be doing more to help Ukraine, as should Italy, Spain and others by dipping deeper into existing stocks of arms.

Germany has become the biggest European backer of Ukraine and Chancellor Olaf Scholz has publicly urged other allies to do more. Germany is supporting Ukraine bilaterally with €28 billion ($30 billion) of military aid, with more than €7 billion of that earmarked for this year.

Europe’s largest economy is also supporting the expansion of its industry, with manufacturer Rheinmetall AG ramping up production domestically and through new sites elsewhere in Europe.

Scholz, however, continues to resist requests to send Ukraine longer-range Taurus missiles and, officials pointed out, he often speaks of Russia not winning the war rather than of an outright Ukrainian victory.

For Landsbergis, the Lithuanian foreign minister, it’s a question of everyone working together — both east and west — and there are things that Europe could do to speed support for Ukraine.

“We could divert all the production that we have in the continent towards the military needs of Ukraine, we could pull up the resources so that we could be able to purchase even outside for the vital things that are needed in Ukraine such as ammunition if we’re unable to produce it ourselves,” he told Bloomberg in New York on Friday. “But the thing is that we cannot agree on that either.”

--With assistance from Milda Seputyte, Michael Nienaber, Arne Delfs, Daryna Krasnolutska, Ellen Milligan, Chiara Albanese, Augusta Saraiva and Piotr Skolimowski.

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