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Paris to Provide 78 Howitzers, Boost Shell Supplies to Ukraine: French Minister

Photo: AFP

France is poised to provide Ukraine with 78 Caesar howitzers and ramp up its production of artillery rounds, reported the Associated Press on March 26, quoting French Defense Minister Sebastien Lecornu.

In January, Lecornu proposed a collaborative plan involving Kyiv, Paris, and other allies to jointly fund 78 Caesar howitzers for Ukraine. Speaking at a press conference, the minister announced that an agreement had been reached between France, Ukraine, and Denmark, facilitating the expedited delivery of the artillery systems.

Additionally, France had previously delivered 30 Caesar artillery systems to Ukraine as part of earlier shipments.

According to Lecornu, France plans to deliver 80,000 155 mm artillery shells to Ukraine in 2024, a significant increase from 30,000 rounds supplied last year.

"In 2024, we will be able to reach the objective of 100,000 155mm shells, including 80,000 for Ukraine and 20,000 for the needs of our own army," Lecornu stated at the press conference.

Paris is also participating in the Czech-led initiative aimed at procuring shells for Ukraine from sources outside the EU. Czech President Petr Pavel proposed the initiative in February, suggesting that up to 800,000 shells could be acquired and sent to Ukraine with allied financing.

Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavsky later informed Bloomberg that the initiative could potentially supply as many as 1.5 million shells.

Ukraine has been grappling with severe ammunition shortages in recent months, which contributed to the loss of the strategic city of Avdiivka in February. The EU had delivered 500,000 shells by March, half of the originally pledged number, with a commitment to provide the remainder by the end of 2024.

While the U.S. included some artillery rounds in its recent $300 million defense package, further assistance from Washington remains hindered by a stalled $60 billion aid bill in Congress.

March 27, 2024 1:38 p.m. 6071

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