The European Union said Friday it will drastically increase ammunition production this year in response to Ukraine's growing pleas for support in its war against Russia, which summoned the French ambassador to protest at the country's "growing involvement" in the conflict.

Ukraine meanwhile called on western nations to stop Russia sourcing key parts for its own weapons production for the war that will soon be two years old and has left tens of thousands dead.

The EU will be able to churn out at least 1.3 million rounds of ammunition by the end of this year, EU internal market commissioner Thierry Breton said on a visit to Estonia.

"We are at a crucial moment for our collective security in Europe, and in the war of aggression run by Russia in Ukraine, Europe must and will continue to support Ukraine with all its means," Breton told reporters.


Breton said that by March or April the 27 EU nations would reach a production capacity target for one million ammunition shells each year. 

"We will continue to enhance our production capacity, probably around 1.3 to 1.4 million... at the end of this year and continue to increase significantly next year," he added. 

"We need to make sure that most of this is coming to Ukraine in priority. Because this is where there is an urgent need," he said.

- 'The West must get serious' -

Ukraine said on Thursday that it faced a "pressing" need for ammunition and Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba on Friday made a call for greater efforts to stop Russia sourcing weapons parts for its offensive.

Zelensky Invites US Governors to Visit to See Results of Russia’s Aggression
Other Topics of Interest

Zelensky Invites US Governors to Visit to See Results of Russia’s Aggression

Speaking at National Association of Governors, the Ukrainian president asked leaders of the 50 states in the US to send their representatives to “personally assess the consequences of Russian terror”

"The West must get serious about strangling Russia's ability to produce weapons," Kuleba said in a social media post.

"According to some data, up to 95 percent of the foreign-produced critical components found in Russian weapons destroyed in Ukraine come from Western countries," he added.

Kuleba did not provide evidence for the claim, but Kyiv regularly disassembles Russian missiles and drones that fall on its territory to analyse their components.


On the battle front, Ukraine staged an attack that sparked a huge inferno at an oil depot in western Russia, a Ukrainian security services source told AFP.

The attack targeted a depot in Klintsy, some 70 kilometres (about 45 miles) from the Ukrainian border.

The strike was the second on a Russian oil depot in two days, after Kyiv claimed to have hit an oil storage facility in the northern Leningrad region on Thursday.

Kyiv has targeted Russian oil and gas infrastructure throughout the almost two-year conflict, attacks they argue are fair retaliation for strikes on Ukrainian territory.

Russia stepped up diplomatic pressure, summoning France's ambassador in Moscow and to make a formal complaint over his country's "growing involvement" in the conflict.

- 'Clumsy Russian manipulation' -

Moscow claimed this week -- without providing evidence -- that it had killed a group of French mercenaries in a strike on the northeastern town of Kharkiv.

Russia's foreign ministry said that ambassador Pierre Levy was "presented with evidence of Paris's growing involvement in the conflict over Ukraine."

Moscow said dozens of fighters were killed in the late night attack Tuesday in Kharkiv, which Russian forces have been shelling since February 2022.


France's foreign ministry denied the mercenaries claim as "another clumsy Russian manipulation".

France has been a key ally for Ukraine since Russia's assault, and President Emmanuel Macron this week announced that Paris was sending dozens of long-range missiles to Ukraine.

Macron on Friday urged defence manufacturers to boost production to increase arms supplies for Ukraine.

"We must amplify the transformation we have begun" to respond more quickly to Ukraine's needs, Macron said in a New Year's address to the French armed forces.

"We can't let Russia think that it can win," Macron added, warning that "a Russian victory would mean the end of European security".

To suggest a correction or clarification, write to us here
You can also highlight the text and press Ctrl + Enter