Ukrainian battalions trained by France, say Macron and Zelensky

France will train and equip several Ukrainian battalions with “dozens” of armored vehicles and light tanks, the two countries announced after a dinner in Paris between Presidents Emmanuel Macron and Volodymyr Zelensky, who also called for new sanctions against Russia.

“In the weeks to come, France will train and equip several battalions with dozens of armored vehicles and light tanks, including AMX-10RCs,” it said in a joint statement.

air defense

Paris had committed at the very beginning of the year to give Ukraine AMX-10 RC, light and fast tanks. The announcements made on Sunday are new, noted an adviser from the Elysée, without further details.

France is also focusing its “efforts on supporting Ukraine’s air defense capabilities”, underlines the joint declaration. It has already delivered Mistral short-range and Crotale medium-range anti-aircraft systems and is examining with Italy the delivery of more sophisticated ground-to-air systems SAMP / T, recalled the Elysée.

The issue of “premature” fighter jets

Regarding the Ukrainian request for fighter planes, “the question is a bit premature”, reiterated an adviser to President Macron, recalling that it was first necessary to train pilots, a long and complex process.

“In addition to its national contribution, France is actively participating in European Union and NATO measures in terms of military assistance to Ukraine and training of Ukrainian soldiers,” added the joint statement of the two countries. . Over the year 2023, it aims to train 2,000 Ukrainians in France and nearly 4,000 in Poland where it has deployed more than 200 soldiers for this.

Call for sanctions

On the diplomatic field, the two presidents spoke out in favor of new sanctions and for the continued strengthening of ties between Ukraine on the one hand, NATO and the European Union on the other. “Ukraine and France agree on the need to increase our collective pressure on Russia through new sanctions in order to weaken the ability of this country to continue its illegal war of aggression”, declare the two countries.

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“The future of Ukraine and its people is within the European family. The European Union has already recognized Ukraine’s European perspective and granted it the status of a candidate country”, says the statement, adding that France “awaits with interest the report of the European Commission to start accession negotiations “.

France reaffirms, in this text, Ukraine’s right to choose its security arrangements and wants to help “Ukraine to continue its path towards the Euro-Atlantic family”, it is written. Volodymyr Zelensky stopped over in Paris on Sunday evening, as part of a mini-European tour which also took him to Italy and Germany over the weekend.

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