On Thursday the Defense Minister of Ukraine Rustem Umerov canceled a visit to France, where he was scheduled to participate in the first meeting of “Artillery Coalition,” for “security reasons”. In his absence the Ukrainian delegation was led by Deputy Minister Ivan Havryliuk, with Umerov joining on line.

The coalition was created under the leadership of France and the US within the Ramstein format and already includes 23 participating countries.

According to the Ukrainian Ministry, it was known in advance that Umerov’s visit could be canceled as he was needed to attend a security-related meeting with Ukraine’s Commander-in-Chief. Ukraine is working with its French partners to arrange an alternate date for Umerov to visit France.

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While addressing the opening of the “Artillery Coalition” Umerov admitted that ammunition shortages and “munition famine” were one of theextremely urgent problems faced by Ukraine’s Armed Forces.

“We need to find a way to solve the problem together. Increasing Ukraine's artillery capabilities will increase our common security. It will give us much more opportunities for sustainable progress on the battlefield. And this will bring our victory nearer,” Umerov said.

Earlier, the French Ministry of Defense reported that the coalition “aims to join forces to help Ukraine in the short and long terms to have artillery adapted to the needs of its counteroffensive, as well as the army of tomorrow.”

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According to the program of today's visit, Lecornu and Umerov were expected to visit the French city of Bourges, where one of production sites of Nexter, the manufacturer of the Caesar self-propelled howitzer, as well as the MBDA anti-ship missile plant in Sel-Saint-Denis.

In February, the French President, Emmanuel Macron will pay an official visit to Kyiv to finalize a bilateral security deal with Ukraine, under which Paris would deliver more sophisticated weaponry, including long-range cruise missiles.

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