France and Australia Team Up For Ukraine Artillery Ammunition

France and Australia reached an agreement today to manufacture and supply artillery shells to Ukraine and support it in its war against Russia, while the United States said it will not send planes to the country invaded almost a year ago and Brazil reiterated that it will not send ammunition.

The president of France, Emmanuel Macron, affirmed that “nothing is ruled out” when questioned about the possible sending of combat planes to Ukraine, in an appearance in The Hague, where he was visiting, according to the AFP news agency. .

Macron listed the “criteria” to take into account before any decision: that Ukraine formulate “a request”, that this does not lend itself to escalation, and that the objective is not “to reach Russian soil but to help the resistance effort”. “By definition, nothing is ruled out,” added the president, who specified that the Ukrainians “to date have not made that request.”

For his part, US President Joe Biden said he will not send F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine to help in its war against the Russian invasion.

“No,” the Democratic president replied when asked by reporters at the White House if he was in favor of sending those planes, which Ukrainian leaders said top their latest list of wanted weapons.

After serious divisions, Western nations finally agreed last week to send in heavy tanks, one of the most powerful weapons in their conventional armies.

After that decision, the President of Ukraine, Volodimir Zelensky, also asked for combat planes and missiles, but already yesterday the head of the German government, Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz, said that his government was not willing to supply aircraft.

Improved military support has raised hopes for kyiv to start receiving F-16 fighter jets soon to bolster its dwindling air force, but this remains a matter of heated debate in the West.

One-Year Anniversary of The Russian Invasion of Ukraine

As the one-year anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine looms on February 24, there are growing expectations that Biden will travel to Europe as a show of support for the Ukraine-backing alliance.

Poland is at the heart of the Western effort as a logistics hub, arms supplier and a key US ally in Eastern Europe.

“I’ll be going to Poland, although I don’t know when,” Biden told reporters when asked about a possible visit.

Meanwhile, the president of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, reiterated his refusal to send ammunition that could be used in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, after meeting with Scholz in Brasilia.

“Brazil has no interest in sending ammunition to be used between Russia and Ukraine, Brazil is a country of peace, Brazil does not want to have any participation, even indirectly, because I think that at this moment in the world we should be looking for someone who can help find the peace between Russia and Ukraine,” he said at the joint press conference.

Earlier, the French and Australian defense ministers, Sébastien Lecornu and Richard Marles, respectively, announced the production and supply of projectiles.

“Several thousand 155mm projectiles will be manufactured jointly,” Lecornu declared, after meeting in Paris with Marles, who estimated this “new cooperation between the defense industries” of both at “several million Australian dollars.”

“This is part of the support that Australia and France are giving to Ukraine to ensure that it is capable of dealing with this conflict and ending it on its own terms,” the Australian minister added.

The first deliveries are expected in the first quarter of 2023, his French counterpart said, without giving further details.

The agreement was reached during a visit by the Australian foreign and defense ministers to Paris, where they met with their French counterparts with the aim of promoting rapprochement between the two countries after a deep crisis in 2021.

So Canberra annulled a major French submarine purchase contract to buy American nuclear-powered submersibles instead, under a military cooperation agreement with the United Kingdom and the United States in the Indo-Pacific region.

Bilateral relations remained tense until May 2022, when the Australians chose a new prime minister, Anthony Albanese, who has worked ever since to pacify the relationship.

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