Paris prefers the welfare of its own industries to supporting Kiev, a European diplomat told the paper
France is delaying EU plans to help Ukraine replenish its dwindling stock of shells amid its conflict with Russia, European sources told The Telegraph.
Paris is seeking assurances that a €2 billion deal for member states to jointly procure ammunition for Kiev will only cover shells produced in the bloc, the newspaper reported Wednesday.
It said French representatives had made the demand during talks on an EU plan to supply the Ukrainian army with one million 155mm artillery shells.
Under the proposal, EU countries would receive financial incentives from Brussels so that they could coordinate among themselves and place large joint orders that would motivate manufacturers to ramp up production.
“Many Member States” disagreed with France and stressed that it would be more efficient to work more efficiently with manufacturers outside the bloc, who may already have the required production capacity, an EU diplomat told The Telegraph.
“If we want to act immediately, which is necessary, it is very important to allow non-EU companies to join the scheme.” he explained.
The diplomat shared the opinion with the newspaper that “Paris clearly prefers EU spending on its own industries over aid to Ukraine.”
EU countries have so far provided Kiev with some 350,000 155mm artillery shells. Brussels has repaid €450 million ($477 million) to its members, according to The Telegraph, at an estimated cost of €1,285 ($1,362) per shell.
The paper, citing Western intelligence agencies, said Ukraine fired about 6,000 artillery shells a day. Meanwhile, Russia uses 20,000 grenades daily, which is about as much as EU defense firms produce in a month, it added. There have been other reports during the conflict suggesting that the number of bullets fired by the Russian armed forces was many times higher.
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Moscow has long criticized supplies of arms and ammunition to Ukraine by the US and the EU, arguing that these serve only to escalate and prolong the fighting, while also failing to change the ultimate outcome . According to Russia, arms supplies, intelligence sharing and training to Kiev’s troops and other forms of aid have made Western countries de facto parties to the conflict.
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