France accused of slowing down the EU plan to purchase shells for the Armed Forces of Ukraine

European diplomats accused France of slowing down the process of joint purchases of artillery shells by the EU countries for the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU). On Wednesday, March 15, the newspaper reported The Daily Telegraph with reference to a source in diplomatic circles.

According to the source, Paris insists that only European enterprises of the military-industrial complex receive orders for the production of shells. France wants assurances that a €2bn joint arms purchase will benefit only companies based in the European Union.

In addition, Cyprus and Greece supported the French proposal to exclude companies from non-EU countries from the procurement scheme in order to prevent Turkish organizations from bidding for contracts.

Earlier in the day, the Canadian Department of Defense announced the shipment of a new batch of shells to Ukraine. It was decided to transfer to Ukraine another 8 thousand shells for 155-mm howitzers and 12 missiles for air defense systems. Canada will also provide over 1,800 105mm tank rounds.

On March 13, Bloomberg reported that the EU countries had reached an impasse in the issue of transferring 155-millimeter shells to Kyiv, which it needs.

Prior to this, on March 6, the El Pais newspaper announced the allocation of €1 billion for the joint purchase of weapons and ammunition for Kyiv as part of an emergency support package.

On March 4, Ukraine called on the EU to allocate 250,000 artillery shells every month as part of military assistance to Kyiv. The head of the Ukrainian Defense Ministry sent a letter to his European colleagues, in which he said that the country’s Armed Forces were severely limited in their capabilities due to a shortage of ammunition.

Western countries have stepped up military and financial support for Ukraine against the backdrop of Russia’s special operation to protect Donbass, which the Russian authorities announced on February 24, 2022 amid the aggravation of the situation in the region due to shelling by the Ukrainian military.

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