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Macron backs Czech plan to supply Ukraine with 800,000 artillery shells

Addressing the urgent need for ammunition in Ukraine, Macron endorses a Czech initiative to provide artillery shells to support Ukrainian forces.
French President Emmanuel Macron
French President Emmanuel Macron. Credit: Ukraine’s Presidential Office
Macron backs Czech plan to supply Ukraine with 800,000 artillery shells

French President Emmanuel Macron has expressed support for a Czech initiative to provide Ukraine with 800,000 artillery shells from non-European Union countries to counter Russian aggression.

Speaking at the Munich Security Conference, Czech President Petr Pavel said his country had found about 800,000 artillery shells abroad that could be sent to Ukrainian troops within a few weeks. He said financial support is needed to deliver these munitions to Ukraine. Following this proposal, Belgium announced the allocation of €200 million to the initiative, while the Netherlands pledged €250 million. Previously, Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė also announced Lithuania’s decision to join the initiative but did not disclose the future contribution amount.

According to Bloomberg, Macron announced France’s participation in the plan during a meeting with Czech President Petr Pavel in Prague, although he did not disclose any financial details. He suggested that the EU’s European Peace Facility (EPF) could partially fund the initiative, a shift from a previous French stance that ruled out using such mechanisms for non-EU material.

The Czech initiative is extremely useful, we support it, we’ll participate in it,” Macron stated, emphasizing the need to source ammunition compatible with the equipment already delivered to Ukraine.

The initiative comes as a response to the EU’s failure to meet its pledge of providing Ukraine with 1 million rounds of artillery by this month while Russia continues to produce more ammunition and receive support from North Korea.

Macron highlighted various funding options for the plan, including bilateral mobilization, cooperation with third parties, and European financing through the EPF.

Discussions on increasing the EPF’s annual budget by €5 billion have been stalled, with France advocating for prioritizing European equipment and viewing non-European sourcing as an emergency measure. EU member states are working towards reaching an agreement before their meeting in the third week of March.

In an earlier speech delivered in Czechia on 5 March, French President Emmanuel Macron called on Ukraine’s allies “not to be cowards”  in supporting the country’s fight against Russian aggression.

“We are undoubtedly approaching a moment in our Europe when we must not be cowards,” Macron stated before the French community at the Lycée Français in Prague, Czech Republic.

BFMTV says Macron’s visit to the Czech Republic aims to demonstrate his “particular attention” to Central Europe, according to his entourage. This visit comes as he appears more focused on asserting his leadership in support of Kyiv and in the confrontation with Russia.

Previously, Macron suggested the potential deployment of European troops to Ukraine for de-mining and training initiatives, sparking discussions among EU member states.

Macron reiterated his stance in an interview with Czech media on 4 March, emphasizing the importance of considering all options to support Ukraine. “In response to a question about sending troops, I replied that nothing was ruled out.” However, the French President clarified, “This does not mean that we are considering sending French troops to Ukraine in the near future, but that we are opening the debate and thinking about everything that can be done to support Ukraine, especially on Ukrainian territory.

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