(Bloomberg) -- French President Emmanuel Macron is expected to announce a pledge as soon as this week to support a Czech proposal to source hundreds of thousands of artillery shells from countries outside the European Union to back Ukraine’s war effort, according to people familiar with the matter. 

Germany, the Netherlands and Denmark have all joined France in backing the plan to buy non-EU ammunition, and Macron will discuss the proposal with Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala during a trip to Prague on Tuesday, said the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. A separate discussion of EU defense and foreign ministers is expected to take place later in the week to hammer out the details. 

European allies are struggling to meet commitments to supply Kyiv with military equipment at a delicate moment in the war, with Ukrainian officials concerned that Russian troops may break through their defenses by summer, Bloomberg reported. The EU missed a pledge to provide Ukraine with 1 million rounds of artillery by this month just as the war-torn nation faces a critical shortage.

Czech President Petr Pavel said at the Munich Security Conference last month that his country had identified 500,000 rounds of 155mm shells and 300,000 rounds of 122mm ones that could be delivered within weeks if the money was made available. A few days later, Macron invited leaders to discuss Ukraine aid, including the Czech proposal, in Paris, where the Netherlands agreed to contribute €100 million ($108 million). 

The Czech government has said it’s received preliminary commitments from Canada and Denmark among other countries, including Lithuania and Latvia, saying they’re considering joining the initiative after their leaders informally decided to back the plan at the Paris gathering, said the people. Poland expressed readiness to join the plan, Fiala said after meeting Prime Minister Donald Tusk in Prague last week.

The discussions come as more than $60 billion of proposed US emergency aid to Ukraine is stuck in Congress and fears are mounting in Europe that if Donald Trump is elected president in November he may withdraw support to Kyiv. This week, European Commissioner Thierry Breton is also planning to unveil a plan to expand joint acquisitions of defense equipment.

A French official insisted that the Czech push to source ammunition wouldn’t be funded by EU mechanisms such as the European Peace Facility, but by bilateral contributions. 

The platform will focus on urgent artillery needs with the Czechs centralizing purchases and demands, the official said, adding that the success of the initiative was important to send a signal both to Washington and Moscow that the EU’s support is unwavering. 

Some in the bloc are concerned that the numbers proposed in the Czech plan are overly optimistic, given the limited supply of gun powder, according to one of the people. The government in Paris is looking into how much ammunition is immediately available to ascertain a possible total order. 

Macron has championed ramping up EU production rather than purchases outside the bloc, but has fallen short on his pledge two years ago to turn France into a “war economy.” The country plans to produce as many as 5,000 ammunition shells a month by the end of the year, up from 3,000 currently.

While the French president broke a taboo last week when he publicly floated the possibility of sending European troops to Ukraine to support initiatives like de-mining and training, irking some of his allies, Ukraine has insisted that its most pressing need is ammunition.

In Prague, Macron will be traveling with the head of Electricite de France SA to discuss nuclear cooperation. The electricity utility has submitted a binding bid to build one reactor in the Czech Republic, but the government is seeking bids for as many as four units this year.

--With assistance from Aaron Eglitis, Paul Richardson and Milda Seputyte.

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