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France delays EU effort to supply shells to Ukraine – Telegraph

France delays EU effort to supply shells to Ukraine – Telegraph

Paris is promoting the welfare of its own industries to support Kiev, a European diplomat told the newspaper

France is slowing EU plans to help Ukraine replenish its dwindling shell stocks amid its conflict with Russia, European sources told The Telegraph.

Paris is seeking to ensure that a 2 billion euro deal for member states to jointly purchase ammunition for Kiev would only involve shells produced within the bloc, the newspaper reported on Wednesday.

He said French representatives had made the demand during discussions about an EU plan to supply the Ukrainian military with one million 155mm artillery shells.

Under the proposal, Brussels would give cash incentives to EU nations to coordinate with each other and place large joint orders that encourage manufacturers to increase production.

“Many member states” have disagreed with France, insisting that dealing with manufacturers outside the bloc, who may already have the necessary production capacity, would be more efficient, an EU diplomat told The Telegraph.

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“If we want to act immediately, which is necessary, it is very important to allow companies from outside the EU to enter the plan,” he explained.

The diplomat shared the view with the newspaper that “Paris clearly favors EU spending on its own industries rather than supporting Ukraine.”

EU nations have so far provided Kiev with around 350,000 155mm artillery shells. Brussels has refunded 450 million euros ($477 million) to its members, at an estimated cost of 1,285 euros ($1,362) per shell, according to The Telegraph.

The paper said, citing Western intelligence, that Ukraine was firing around 6,000 artillery rounds a day. Meanwhile, Russia has been using 20,000 shells a day, which is roughly the same amount EU defense companies produce in a month, he added. There have been other reports during the conflict suggesting that the number of rounds fired by Russian forces was several times higher.

READ MORE: Pentagon seeks billions to replace depleted munitions – Bloomberg

Moscow has long denounced US and EU arms and ammunition deliveries to Ukraine, arguing that they serve only to escalate and prolong the fighting, without changing its bottom line. According to Russia, arms deliveries, intelligence sharing and training provided to Kiev’s troops and other forms of assistance have already made Western nations de facto parties to the conflict.

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