France has announced it will provide tanks, armored vehicles and training for Ukrainian soldiers in a new wave of military aid as Ukraine prepares for an expected counteroffensive in its fight against a Russian invasion.
French President Emmanuel Macron’s office said in a statement that his government would provide the light tanks and armored vehicles “in the coming weeks” while pledging to provide military, political, economic and humanitarian support to Ukraine “as long as it takes.”
France will also provide support to Ukraine’s air defenses and aims to train 2,000 Ukrainian soldiers in France and about 4,000 more in Poland this year.
The statement followed a meeting between Macron and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who arrived in Paris on Sunday.
“Paris. With each visit, Ukraine’s offensive and defensive capabilities expand,” Zelenskyy tweeted. “Ties with Europe are strengthening, and the pressure on Russia is increasing.”
Zelenskyy also expressed his hope that France would support Ukraine’s pressure for allies to provide him with fighter jets.
Ukrainian authorities have pushed for the planes to be the next step in military aid available to Ukrainian forces, but Western leaders have so far not supported sending more advanced aircraft, such as US-made F-16s. The Ukrainian leader traveled to France after stopping in Germany and Italy.
Germany announced a $3 billion aid package for Ukraine, the biggest since Russia launched its full-scale invasion in February 2022.
“Now is the time to determine the end of the war already this year; we can make the defeat of the aggressor irreversible already this year,” Zelenskyy said on Sunday during a joint news conference in Berlin with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.
Voice of America News