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11 Jul, 2023 09:55

France to send long-range missiles to Ukraine – Macron

The country’s president says the weapons are intended to help Kiev’s ongoing counteroffensive
France to send long-range missiles to Ukraine – Macron

France will supply long-range missiles to Ukraine to prop up its ongoing counteroffensive, President Emmanuel Macron has announced. In May, the UK became the first country to ship this type of weaponry to Kiev.

Speaking ahead of the NATO summit in Vilnius, Lithuania on Tuesday, Macron said he had “made the decision to increase weapons and equipment deliveries to Ukraine [to] allow them to strike deep [into enemy territory].” He added that Paris would continue to stick to its policy of assisting Ukraine in “defending its territory.”

Last week, French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna told the media that Paris was planning to boost military support for Ukraine, with particular focus on artillery and air-defense systems. The diplomat stressed that France was determined to “fulfill this commitment.”

Back in May, British Defence Secretary Ben Wallace announced that the UK would provide Ukraine with aircraft-launched Storm Shadow cruise missiles, which boast a range of over 250km (155 miles). 

Britain thus became the first country to ship such projectiles to Kiev. Despite Ukraine’s repeated pleas, the likes of the US and Germany have so far stopped short of following suit. Officials in Washington and Berlin have expressed concerns that such deliveries could lead to dangerous escalation of the ongoing military conflict.

Commenting on Macron’s latest decision, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov described it as a “mistake,” and one that was likely to have “consequences” for Ukraine. He warned that Moscow would take “countermeasures,” without specifying details.

Peskov expressed confidence that the delivery of French long-range missiles would not change the outcome of Russia’s military campaign in Ukraine.

Moscow has repeatedly warned Kiev’s Western backers that, by providing Ukraine with ever more advanced weapons systems, they are risking dragging themselves into direct military confrontation with Russia.