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1 Apr, 2024 03:27

France promises ‘hundreds’ of old armored vehicles to Ukraine

Kiev will get used but “still functional” VAB vehicles, the French defense minister has said
France promises ‘hundreds’ of old armored vehicles to Ukraine

France will supply Ukraine with additional surface-to-air missiles and hundreds of armored vehicles from its storage supplies, Defense Minister Sebastien Lecornu has announced. The deliveries of materiel, some of which is over 40 years old, are set to begin this summer.

Speaking on Sunday to the newspaper La Tribune Dimanche, Lecornu said he had been instructed by French President Emmanuel Macron to come up with a “new aid package” to help Kiev’s war effort against Russia.

Supplies will include equipment that was previously used by the French army but “is still functional,” as well as a “new batch of Aster 30 missiles” that are designed to intercept drones, and cruise missiles with a range of 120km.

“To hold such a long frontline, the Ukrainian army needs, for example, our armored vehicles – this is absolutely key for troop mobility and is part of Ukraine’s requests,” the minister said.

“We’re talking in the hundreds for 2024 and early 2025,” he clarified, when asked about the timeframe, adding that he had asked the government defense procurement agency to accelerate the production of Aster missiles.

The French military is currently seeking to replace thousands of VAB (Véhicule de l’Avant Blindé) armored personnel carriers – which first entered service some 45 years ago – with newer types of APC. 

In February, Macron signed a new security pact with Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, pledging €3 billion in military aid to Kiev for the year 2024 alone.

However, the bilateral security agreement has turned into a “budgetary and political headache” for the government and it is “extremely unclear” how the promise will materialize given public resistance to spending cuts and further aid to Kiev, the French publication Le Monde reported last week.

The paper suggested that in order to provide €3 billion, the French authorities would have to “play with the paperwork” or inflate the value of used equipment donated to Kiev.

Macron has previously stated that the West will “do anything we can to prevent Russia from winning this war.”

Moscow has repeatedly warned that deliveries of weapons to Kiev by Western allies will not change the course of its military operation, but will only increase the risk of a direct confrontation between Russia and NATO.