France to be first nation to donate Western armored vehicles to Ukraine
Thursday, January 5, 2023
On Wednesday, French President Emmanuel Macron's office announced that France would be shipping "light tanks" to Ukraine, which would make it the first to provide Western armored fighting vehicles to Ukraine.
The announcement came following a virtual meeting between Macron and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
Sébastien Lecornu, the French Minister of the Armed Forces, explained it is "possible...[there will be] a Russian offensive" in the spring.
"Ukraine is at a tipping point now at the frontline...Russia is trying to terrorize the population with its drone attacks that sometimes reach as far as Kyiv, but Ukraine could also start a counter-offensive," he continued.
During the Russian invasion of Ukraine, some European nations have supplied Ukraine with Soviet tanks from their arsenals; however, France denied Ukraine's December request for the Leclerc battle tank, as did Germany regarding its tanks.
Under this agreement, France will deliver an as-of-yet unspecified amount of AMX-10 RC tanks, which it has been deprecating in favor of the EBRC Jaguar model.
Despite Germany's prior refusal of Ukraine's ask, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said Wednesday that the West should provide "more weapons" to Ukraine.
Zelenskyy tweeted that he had "a long and detailed conversation" with Macron and that "[Macron's] leadership brings our victory closer."
- Clea Caulcutt. "France to deliver ‘light tanks’ to Ukraine" — Politico Europe, January 4, 2022
- "Ukraine updates: France to send 'light tanks'" — Deutsche Welle, January 4, 2022