News of the word “A gun, not a tank” from France to Ukraine. Last Minute GERMANY, France, England, Russia headlines and events
As the Russo-Ukrainian war approaches its 343rd day, the Ukrainian government, which expects an all-out Russian attack at the end of winter, continues to push for “more weapons” for Western states. Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov, who arrived in France, requested a fighter jet from Paris.
President Emmanuel Macron and Defense Minister Sebastian Lecornu responded: “There are no taboos, all possibilities are being considered.” However, instead of quick military assistance, Reznikov managed to get “planned and long-term” military support.
France has announced that it will donate 12 new guns to Ukraine, in addition to the 18 Caesar medium-range guns it previously delivered, to replace Leclerc tanks and Mirage 2000 military aircraft.
The issue of French and EU assistance to Ukraine will also be discussed at the EU-Ukraine summit, which will be held in Kyiv on Friday (February 3). For the first time, Kyiv will host a Ukraine-EU summit between Kyiv and the European Commission.
After a negative response to the request of the US and German governments in Kyiv to “donate a fighter jet,” Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov and Parliament Speaker Ruslan Stefanchuk arrived in the French capital on an official visit to strengthen military assistance to Ukraine. Reznikov first met with Defense Minister Stephane Lecornu and then with President Emmanuel Macron at the Elysee Palace.
The two defense ministers, Reznikov and Lecornu, announced in a joint statement that 12 additional Ceasar medium-range guns would be delivered to Kyiv. French Defense Minister Lecornu announced that this new assistance would be in addition to the 18 Caesar guns supplied by France and the 19 guns promised by Denmark. Lecornu announced that these medium-range weapons would be “financed under a support fund of 200 million euros”. When asked about the transfer of tanks and combat aircraft, Lecornu replied: “There are no taboos, all possibilities are being considered.”
The French minister said that they would send fuel to Ukraine, as well as Caesar’s cannons, and that 150 French soldiers would be sent to Poland to train the Ukrainian army, “with the aim of training 600 soldiers a month.”
Waiting for 120-140 tanks
Ukraine expects to receive 120-140 Western tanks as part of the “first wave” of tank deliveries from a coalition of 12 countries. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dimitro Kuleba said the tanks would include German-made Leopard 2s, British Challenger 2s and American Abrams, and said they were confident France would also provide Leclerc tanks.
In the first delivery to Ukraine, there were only 28 German Leopard tanks, 31 Abrams tanks from the USA, 14 each from Germany and Poland; A total of 18 British-made Challenger tanks are expected, 14 from the UK and 4 from Canada.
By persuading three Western countries to supply tanks, the Ukrainian government has not been able to make the same progress in demand for fighter jets. U.S. President Joe Biden on Monday rejected a request to send U.S. military F-16 jets to Ukraine, whose list of weapons assistance is growing. Although the same response came from Germany, President Macron left the door open, saying “we are not against it in principle.”
Alexei Reznikov, who made his first visit to Paris, thanked France many times for their support, but did not hide the fact that he still had a long list of requirements. Lecornu, fighter release
However, neither the Ministry of Defense nor the Elysian sources made a clear statement on this matter.
Caesar’s order for 60 million euros
Speaking to Le Monde newspaper, a spokesman for the defense ministry said that given France’s own stockpiles, Caesar’s aid to Ukraine had reached a significant level and that it would provide arms assistance “with a long-range plan”.
These new Caesars will ship directly from the Nexter factory in Kyiv to stockpile the French army, which until February 2022 had only 76 guns. Caesar balls, the price of which today is determined at 5 million euros for wholesale orders, will cost Ukraine about 60 million euros.
Lecornu also confirmed the purchase of a Ground Master 200 (GM200) medium-range radar manufactured by the French defense giant Thales through a Ukrainian support fund.
Reznikov: “I’m optimistic”
With regard to combat aircraft, Lecornu and Reznikov confirmed that this issue was discussed. However, the possibility of providing the “platform” necessary for the proper operation of these aircraft during the war, including air defense, was prioritized over the possible sending of French aircraft to Ukraine.
However, at present there are no plans to provide the armies of the allied countries with these aircraft. Noting that Ukrainian pilots use MiGs, experts state that the use of French Mirage aircraft will require lengthy preparation.
Aleksey Reznikov, recalling the hesitation of the Westerners about artillery or tanks at the beginning, said: “I am optimistic, we will buy fighters as well.”
EU and NATO membership
Chairman of the Ukrainian Parliament Ruslan Stefanchuk, who, together with Reznikov, came to Paris and addressed the French National Assembly, confirmed Ukraine’s desire to become a member of NATO and the EU. Stefanchuk, who wanted to be supplied with the weapons they wanted against Russia, said: “Dear friends, do not be afraid to confront Russia directly. He is already here, give us weapons that will be wings for victory.
In an interview with Le Monde, Ruslan Stefanchuk highlighted his country’s progress towards European Union accession ahead of an EU-Ukraine summit with European leaders on Thursday 2-3 February, insisting that tanks and aircraft should be brought to Kyiv.
Just a few months after Kyiv became an official candidate for EU membership, the move of the EU administration to Kyiv and the holding of such a meeting with 27 member states also sends an important signal and step for the EU.
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