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Kyiv urges France and Poland to unblock joint purchase of ammo for Ukraine

Ordnance for M777 gun. Source: US Embassy in Ukraine
155mm ordnance for M777 gun. Photo: US Embassy in Ukraine
Kyiv urges France and Poland to unblock joint purchase of ammo for Ukraine

Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba called on France and Poland to settle their dispute over the EU’s ammunition procurement for Ukraine.

“The inability of the EU to implement its own decision on the joint procurement of ammunition for Ukraine is frustrating,” Dmytro Kuleba wrote on Twitter. “This is a test of whether the EU has strategic autonomy in making new crucial security decisions. For Ukraine, the cost of inaction is measured in human lives.”

The ambassadors of Poland and France had a heated debate during their meeting on 19 April that failed to settle the dispute over who should get the EU’s joint contracts to purchase ammunition for Ukraine, Politico reported.

The ambassador of France to the European Union accused the Polish ambassador of blaming  France for hampering a final ammunition procurement deal, according to the three diplomats, Politico claimed. The Polish ambassador blamed France for the delay, saying France was “making the current negotiations harder,” according to Politico.

France favors keeping the funds within the European Union and not spending them on purchasing ammunition from foreign companies, particularly from the United States and the United Kingdom. On the other hand, Poland objects to such a restriction and believes that contracts should be awarded to the most favorable offers, regardless of the country of origin.

Sweden intervened in the debate, trying to find a compromise. Eventually, the compromise agreement was finalized, but it has to be approved by the national governments of the EU member states, according to Politico.

On 20 March 2023, European Union foreign and defense ministers approved a €2 billion plan to boost ammunition deliveries to Ukraine, including through joint purchases.

According to the agreement, €1 billion should cover the reimbursement of ammunition supplies from the EU warehouses. Currently, there is not enough ammunition to be supplied to Ukraine at the stockpiles in the EU. Thus,  another €1 billion is allocated to purchase the ammunition from third countries.

However, the political agreement on the ammunition supplies to Ukraine must be transformed into a legal document. Talks on the issue will continue within the EU next week, which likely means that EU foreign ministers will have no deal in hand when they meet on Monday in Luxembourg to discuss the Russo-Ukrainian war and military aid to Ukraine, according to Politico.

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