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.

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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.

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"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.

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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.

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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".

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Comments ( 1)

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Imokru2
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When President, Trump chastised Europe for not achieving defence goals that they themselves had set. He was ridiculed and ignored.
Finally Europe is recognizing the threat that Russia imposes and are doing something about it.
France and Germany will never admit that Trump was right. He was a much better President than what he is given credit for.

Solomon Mokey
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@Imokru2, He is not given credit for what he doesn't deserve and and you say, ridiculed and ignored for many reasons. Absolutely nothing to do with the 2% GDP requirement for NATO which has been a sore point predating Trump, had or has anything to do with the funding currently being provided to Ukraine, nor are the current NATO countries defence budgets or their proposed future have anything to do with the dated, hand-me-down, decommissioned mostly decades old military equipment being provided to Ukraine. Nor are the finally way to f'king late artillery shell shortages being produced coming from NATO military spending requirements, it's ad hoc spending agreements either through bi-lateral defence agreements being formed or as an EU initiative because of the invasion.
Trumps contribution to the war in Ukraine was to withhold critically timed previously promised defence support, after a broken US security "guarantee", as blackmail to forward his own political gains, paving the way for Russia to invade.
Wake up from your MAGA sheep brainwashed delusions, and keep your insular US thinking within your own borders where ignorance is excused as free speech. Every soldier here knows the US cannot be trusted, better yet come to Ukraine and spew such nonsense, see what happens.

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Barruntaranchos
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@Imokru2, Among many other things, Trump has no idea about international politics, and his idea is to isolate the US, with horrendous consequences for the US and the rest of the world (US alone can´t do anything, and the EU would move closer to China, for instance). Forcing EU to spend much more money now, just in case Trump wins, means that EU is increasing at fast speed its capatilities to produce weapons, ending the buying of US weapons because it is not realible as a key ally any more. Trump expected EU to spend much more money on US weapons, and his is getting just the opposite, as usual. The biggest scunbag that US Histoy has known, the best present Putin could ever receive.

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Solomon Mokey
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@Imokru2, I can only speak for others living in Ukraine to the degree that Trump and everything he has done is utterly loathed by this country. I'm certain that the notion an American, let alone a narcissist without any understanding of history, geography, or geopolitics like Trump, understands the Russian threat better than any European, but typical they would think they did.
It's as amazing as unsurprising that bully-worshipping infects decent discourse by taking every subject as an opportunity to spread desperate political rhetoric, like readers of the Kyiv post and the like care or think about Trump. Why can't you stay in your polarised not-free press cesspool or read something about Ukrainian history not written by them before you litter with your thoughts...

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