France to Provide Training, Armored Vehicles, and Support for Ukraine in Escalating Conflict

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In a joint statement issued after a three-hour dinner meeting in Paris, French President Emmanuel Macron and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced that France would provide training and equipment to several Ukrainian battalions. The support includes the provision of tens of armored vehicles and light tanks, including AMX-10RCs, with a focus on bolstering Ukraine’s air defense capabilities. The announcement comes as Zelenskyy seeks to shore up support from European allies during his tour of European capitals.

France has committed to training and equipping Ukrainian forces in the coming weeks, emphasizing the need for combat equipment such as armored vehicles, tanks, and artillery. The joint statement also highlighted the importance of protecting Ukraine’s skies from drone and missile attacks. While France is prioritizing land operations and air defenses at the moment, it did not address Ukraine’s request for fighter jets.

The visit to France follows Zelenskyy’s meeting with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Berlin, where Germany confirmed a €2.7 billion military aid package for Ukraine. Zelenskyy expressed optimism about increasing Ukraine’s defensive and offensive capabilities and strengthening its connection with Europe. The Ukrainian president has been calling on Western nations to provide heavy weaponry and fighter jets to support a counteroffensive against Russian-occupied territories in eastern Ukraine.

The flurry of diplomatic visits also included Zelenskyy’s meeting with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni in Rome and an audience with Pope Francis, who expressed his prayers for peace in Ukraine. These efforts aim to garner support for Ukraine’s armed forces and facilitate the liberation of Russian-occupied territories.

The situation on the ground remains tense, with ongoing battles near the contested town of Bakhmut. Ukrainian forces claim recent gains in the area and express determination to reclaim Russian-occupied territories, while remaining open to peace talks based on Ukraine’s terms.

Overall, France’s commitment to providing training, armored vehicles, and air defense support reflects an escalation of international involvement in the Ukraine-Russia conflict. The joint statement underscores the growing international pressure on Russia and the increasing strength of Ukraine’s ties with Europe. The provision of modern systems and potential future announcements indicate France’s ongoing commitment to supporting Ukraine in its quest for territorial integrity and peace.