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Australia, France to produce ammunition for Ukraine

Foreign Minister Penny Wong and Defence Minister Richard Marles say Australia and France will jointly produce ammunition for Ukraine.

Australia and France have announced plans to jointly produce ammunition for Ukraine. Photo: Matthew Hatcher/SOPA

Australia and France have announced plans to jointly produce ammunition for Ukraine. Photo: Matthew Hatcher/SOPA

The pair held a press conference in Paris overnight alongside French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna and Armed Forces Minister Sebastien Lecornu.

“We are really pleased to be able to announce today that Australia and France are working together in providing supply of 155-millimetre ammunition to Ukraine … to make sure Ukraine is able to stay in this conflict and see it concluded on its own terms,” Marles said.

“It represents a novel co-operation between Australian and French defence industry.”

Lecornu said several thousand 155-millimetre shells will be manufactured, with Australia supplying the gunpowder and French firm Nexter producing the ammunition.

“This partnership will allow us over time, over the coming weeks and months, to assist Ukraine,” Lecornu said.

The meeting comes amid a thawing of relations between Australia and France following the previous coalition government’s decision to scrap a multibillion dollar submarine deal with the European country in favour of nuclear-powered vessels as part of the AUKUS security pact.

Colonna alluded to the past tensions as she welcomed the Australian ministers.

“It is the first time that our consultations have taken place at this level – in the so-called 2+2 format – since an incident I shall not come back to,” she said.

-AAP

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