France blocking EU ammunition for Ukraine – Polish media
France is blocking the EU’s decision to finance the supply of ammunition to Ukraine, Polish media outlet PAP claimed on Wednesday, citing a high-ranking source in the bloc. Paris is said to be demanding reimbursement for weapons that Kiev has not even requested.
Brussels announced last month that the European Peace Facility (EPF) funding mechanism would provide €2 billion to finance ammunition supplies to Kiev. Half of those funds would go towards compensating EU countries for what they have already sent to Ukraine, while the other €1 billion would be used to place joint munitions orders from European manufacturers to send to Ukraine.
The decision must receive unanimous support from all EU member states before the process starts, but is currently being held up by France, PAP reports.
A source cited by the outlet stated that there are currently not enough munitions in EU warehouses, which is why it was proposed to procure ammunition from a third party on a donation basis, and then reimburse it with other European weapons. This suggestion is being opposed by France, PAP claims.
The outlet stated that Paris is also insisting on changes to the way member states are compensated for providing military aid to Ukrainian forces.
“The draft contained a provision that the ammunition was to be reimbursed only on the basis of demand submitted by Ukraine. Paris, however, wants, without explaining why, this provision to be deleted,” the unnamed EU source told PAP.
The same source claimed that the removal of the provision would mean the possibility of refunding ammunition which Ukraine has not even applied for. The person added that France also wants to make refunds for missile deliveries possible in the agreement.
PAP reported that some diplomats believe that lobbying by defense companies may be behind France’s position. “It’s about creating a mechanism for forcing the ordering of specific equipment that the Ukrainian side may not actually need,” one official told the outlet.
PAP also claimed that most EU states, including Poland, have condemned France’s decision to block the agreement. Warsaw’s representative to the EU, Andrzej Sados, has insisted that the bloc must provide Kiev with ammunition supplies as soon as possible.
Ukraine has repeatedly claimed that the EU is too slow with weapons deliveries, although Moscow has continued to warn against Western weapons supplies to Kiev, arguing that they unnecessarily prolong the conflict.