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27 Feb, 2024 12:05

France creates coalition to arm Ukraine with long-range weapons

The aim is to enable Kiev to “carry out deep strikes” amid flagging US support, President Emmanuel Macron has said
France creates coalition to arm Ukraine with long-range weapons

France is leading a new coalition that aims to provide Ukraine with “medium and long-range missiles and bombs,” President Emmanuel Macron has announced. He has also not ruled out deploying ground forces to support Kiev in future.

Macron made the remarks following a summit of Ukraine’s backers on Monday, intended to demonstrate unwavering support for Kiev amid the suspension of American aid.

According to the French leader, the newly established coalition seeks to enable Ukraine to “carry out deep strikes.” There is a “broad consensus to do even more and faster together” to support Kiev, Macron added.

The move comes as continued US aid to Ukraine remains in doubt. President Joe Biden’s latest package, which envisages an additional $60 billion for Kiev, has been in limbo for months due to opposition from Republicans in the House of Representatives. Lawmakers have made clear they will only relent if the White House agrees to tighten US border controls and stems the flow of illegal migrants from Mexico.

Speaking on Monday, Macron also claimed that the deployment of Western troops to Ukraine cannot be ruled out, insisting that Paris will “do everything necessary to ensure that Russia cannot win this war.” His remarks were echoed by French Prime Minister Gabriel Attal in comments to the RTL broadcaster on Tuesday.

In response, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov warned that “in this case, we have to talk not about the probability, but rather the inevitability” of a direct conflict between NATO and Russia, should Western military personnel be deployed to Ukraine.

Earlier this month, Paris and Kiev signed a bilateral security pact under which France pledged €3 billion ($3.26 billion) worth of defense aid by the end of the year.

In January, Macron revealed plans to provide Ukraine with 40 more SCALP-EG long-range cruise missiles and “hundreds of bombs.”

Paris agreed to ship the rockets, which have a range of over 250km (155 miles), last July, months after the UK agreed a similar move.

Russia has consistently condemned Western deliveries of long-range weaponry, saying it will only serve to prolong the hostilities unnecessarily without changing the final outcome.