Shells for Ukraine: EU plan slows down as France and Poland squabble

rance and Poland squabbled on Wednesday when the country's ambassadors to the EU failed to settle a dispute over joint EU contracts to purchase ammunition for Ukraine.

Politico, referring to three diplomats familiar with the situation;

EU ambassadors have tried to break the impasse over how to implement a joint ammunition purchase plan for Ukraine in its fight against Russia. Although EU leaders approved a  communal scheme and have even allocated 2 billion euros to finance it, some EU countries have since disagreed over how to spend the 1 billion euros set aside for joint contracts.

The main issue of the dispute is how much these contracts should be restricted to manufacturers from the EU and whether companies from countries such as the US and the UK should be included in the program.

France favors keeping the funds within the European Union, which has irked some EU colleagues.

According to three diplomats, at a meeting of EU representatives on Wednesday, the French ambassador to the EU accused his Polish counterpart of blaming Paris in the press for obstructing the path to reaching a final agreement.

According to the diplomats, the French official stressed that Paris is simply being pragmatic and noted that EU countries have already agreed to spend 1 billion euros on reimbursements for ammunition supplied to Ukraine.

The Polish official objected, saying France was only complicating the current negotiations.

In the end, Sweden, which holds the presidency of the EU Council, intervened in the matter, trying to find a compromise. Swedish officials proposed an updated agreement text to satisfy both sides.

The compromise document limited future contracts to "economic operators established in the EU and Norway" but included a line stating that the directive should not set a precedent.

Some diplomats felt the new text was too favorable to France's position. Others complained that it raised further questions about which companies or subcontractors should be involved in contracts.

Late on Wednesday, EU officials admitted they could not reach any agreements that day.

Negotiations are likely to continue next week. This means that EU foreign ministers have yet to have a deal in hand to discuss at their meeting in Luxembourg on Monday.

The joint ammunition purchase plan is part of a three-step process that EU leaders approved last month to obtain much-needed ammunition for Ukraine quickly.

According to one of the diplomats, one of the critical concerns that persist is that the European defense industry may not be up to the task of delivering 1 million shells to Ukraine within 12 months.

Russian forces fire almost 300 projectiles on Kherson Oblast, wounding six people.

Kherson Oblast Military Administration noted that Russian forces bombarded Kherson Oblast 60 times, firing a total of 298 projectiles from heavy artillery, UAVs, and aircraft.

Russian soldiers fired on the city of Kherson 5 times.

Oleksandr Prokudin, Head of Kherson Oblast Military Administration, reported that the Russian military targeted residential blocks in the oblast’s settlements, including a critical infrastructure facility building and premises belonging to a car business in Kherson, as well as an outpatient clinic in Beryslav hromada [hromada is an administrative unit designating a town, village or several villages and their adjacent territories – ed.].

Six people were wounded in these attacks.

Kyiv was and remained Russia's target

Kyiv Mayor Vitalii Klitschko believes that Russia remains focused on capturing Ukraine's capital.

"Kyiv was and remained the aggressor's target. Kyiv is the heart. Kyiv is the capital.

That is why we do everything to anticipate different scenarios, even the worst ones. So that if someone is capable of and decides they want to – and whether someone will want to [attack Kyiv again] is a big question – but if someone wants to attack Kyiv again, we will punch them in the teeth, if I can put it that way"- Klitschko said.

Kyiv Mayor also said that the city’s defence is currently "way better than a month ago, than six months ago, and definitely [better] than a year ago".

He added that "a more detailed defence plan has been devised to protect Kyiv from aggression".

"We currently have a control system, a network of checkpoints, modern weapons, and our Armed Forces are a lot stronger now than they were a year ago," Klitschko said.