France promised to send dozens of light tanks and armored vehicles to Ukraine and to provide the necessary training for the country’s soldiers to use them effectively.
The announcement came after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky flew to France on Sunday night to join French President Emmanuel Macron for a working dinner at the Elysee Palace in Paris.
“In the coming weeks, France will train and equip several battalions with dozens of armored vehicles and light tanks, including the AMX-10RC,” the two leaders said in a joint statement on Monday after about three hours of training.
Paris will also focus its efforts on “supporting Ukraine’s air defense capabilities in order to defend its population against Russian strikes.”
The statement also warned of tougher penalties.
Ukraine and France agree on the need to increase collective pressure on Russia through new sanctions in order to weaken Russia’s ability to continue its illegal war of aggression.
Zelensky’s visit to Paris was part of Zelensky’s whirlwind weekend tour of a number of key European allies to drum up military and financial support ahead of an expected major Ukrainian counteroffensive against Russian forces.
After getting a new $3 billion military package from Germany, Zelensky said in Berlin on Sunday that Kiev and its allies could make Russia’s defeat “irreversible” early this year.
“Macron reaffirmed in Paris that France will continue to provide political, financial, humanitarian and military support to Ukraine as long as it is necessary,” the statement said.
A source from the French presidency told reporters that Ukraine will be provided with additional and more modern defense systems.
“Paris. With each visit, Ukraine’s defensive and offensive capabilities grow,” Zelensky tweeted as he headed to Villakoublay Air Base on Sunday.
Relations with Europe are strengthening, and pressure on Russia is growing.
The French AMX-10RC vehicles have high speed and maneuverability, which allows them to quickly move around the battlefield and change position.
Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov called them “a sniper rifle… fast wheels”.