France and Australia will jointly supply Ukraine with 155mm shells, which are notably used by Caesar cannons, their foreign ministries announced following a summit Monday in Paris.
The two countries intend “to provide support to Ukraine including through joint supply of 155-millimetre ammunition,” according to a summary of the summit, signaling “new cooperation between the Australian and French defense industries.”
The move comes after more than a year of strained relations between Canberra and Paris, following Australia’s decision in September 2021 to cancel a multi-billion euro submarine deal it had made with France, to buy U.S.-made submarines instead and pursue an alliance with the U.S. and the U.K., known as AUKUS.
France’s then-Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian called Australia’s reversal “a stab in the back,” while President Emmanuel Macron accused Scott Morrison of lying, saying the Australian prime minister did not disclose he was also talking to the U.S. and the U.K.
The Australian government eventually buried the hatchet last June, by agreeing to pay the French Naval group more than half a billion euros to settle the dispute.
The Paris summit on Monday “reflected the shared commitment to restore a dynamic bilateral relationship founded on trust and shared interests,” the summary added.
France has sent 18 Caesar cannons — French truck-mounted howitzers used for air defense — to Ukraine since the beginning of Russia’s full-scale invasion last February, and pledged an additional six.
Regularly targeted by Russian air attacks, Ukraine has been pressing its Western allies to deliver more ammunition to fuel its air defense systems, as it uses thousands of howitzer shells a day.