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France promises ‘hundreds’ of old armored vehicles to Ukraine

Kiev will get used but “still functional” VAB vehicles, French Defense Minister has said

Paris will supply Kiev with additional surface-to-air missiles and hundreds of armored vehicles, previously utilized by the French forces, French Defense Minister Sebastien Lecornu has announced. The deliveries are set to begin as early as this summer and stretch over the course of the next two years.

Speaking to the La Tribune Dimanche on Sunday, Lecornu said that he was instructed by French President Emmanuel Macron to come up with a “new aid package” to help Kiev’s war effort against Russia. He noted that the lot 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 within a range of 120 km.

“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 explained.

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

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France's President Emmanuel Macron and Ukraine's President Vladimir Zelensky during their meeting in Paris.
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The French military is currently seeking to replace thousands of VAB (Véhicule de l’Avant Blindé) armored personnel carriers that first entered service some 45 years ago with newer types of APCs. 

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 is going to materialize given the current struggle with spending cuts and constant public questioning of further aid to Kiev, the French publication Le Monde reported last week.

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Finnish Foreign Minister Elina Valtonen.
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Le Monde suggested that in order to fulfill their €3 billion promise, the French authorities in Paris 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.

April 01, 2024 at 08:57AM

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