France sends “tank killer” armored vehicles to Ukraine

French President Emmanuel Macron has pledged to provide armored fighting vehicles to Ukraine to help in its war against Russia.

The Elysee declined to give details on how many of its AMX-10 vehicles will be shipped, nor the timing of the deliveries, but took the move as a sign of how Macron wanted to “increase military aid to Ukraine.” .

France will also send Bastion armored personnel carriers, which will be bought from a €200 million fund set up by the Paris government for Ukraine to purchase military equipment.

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy Macron thanked him on Twitterwho said, “Your leadership brings our victory closer.”

The move signals France, with one of the largest defense budgets in NATO, is determined to support Ukraine against Russia as the war approaches its second year.

Kyiv has urged its allies to provide armored vehicles, as well as main battle tanks, air defense systems and long-range missiles as it prepares for a possible renewed Russian offensive later this winter. Armored vehicles and APCs are also crucial to any counter-offensives that Kyiv will mount later this year.

“This is the first time that Western-designed tanks have been handed over to the Ukrainian armed forces,” Elysée said.

Although the official referred to the AMX-10 as a tank, it is technically an armored vehicle that runs on wheels rather than tracks and is lighter and more mobile than a tank. Designed in the 1970s as a “tank killer”, it features a powerful gun capable of penetrating both armor and buildings, but is considered less effective against the armor of modern main battle tanks.

Nonetheless, France’s decision to supply AMX-10 is a step towards supplying tanks to Ukraine, which it has repeatedly requested from its Western backers.

Ukraine’s allies have refused to supply NATO-standard main battle tanks to Kyiv. Ukraine wants German-built Leopards, which are operated by several European countries and are therefore widely available. However, Berlin has declined, fearing it could be seen as an escalating move by Moscow.

Zelenskyy and Macron said the two leaders “agreed further cooperation to significantly strengthen air defense and other defense capabilities.”

Kyiv has also urged France to deploy its Mamba medium-range air defense systems to help protect critical infrastructure from Russian missile attacks.

France’s move comes after it was criticized by analysts and some allies for donating fewer arms to Ukraine than other European governments. The Kiel Institute for the World Economy, that was track donations to Ukraine, France gave less material than Great Britain, Germany or Poland.

France refutes these figures and says it does not disclose everything that has happened.

https://www.ft.com/content/df87839b-a7cc-445e-9672-1a225b7b8148 France sends “tank killer” armored vehicles to Ukraine

Adam Bradshaw

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