Seven EU countries have ordered ammunition under a landmark European Union procurement scheme to get urgently needed artillery shells to Ukraine and replenish depleted Western stocks, according to the European Defence Agency (EDA).

The orders - placed under contracts negotiated by the EDA - are for 155mm artillery rounds, one of the most important munitions in the intense war of attrition between Ukraine's troops and Russia's invading forces.

"Seven Member States have already placed orders for 155mm ammunition through the EDA’s fast-track procedure," the agency said in an email in response to questions from Reuters. Without disclosing the names of the countries or the value of the contract.

(Reporting by Andrew Gray)