France to provide Ukraine with long-range missiles

French President Emmanuel Macron said in an interview with the French TV channel TF1 that France would provide new ammunition to Ukraine and was open to training Ukrainian fighter pilots. Although there was no mention of the transfer of fighter jets, training programmes could begin as soon as now.

The Head of State told French journalists that France’s strategy is to help Ukraine survive. And, according to Emmanuel Macron, they have already done a lot in this direction.

“We have decided to supply new ammunition (missiles) and build training centres for battalions in the east of the country together with the Ukrainians, who will be responsible for the counter-offensive. We will also assist in the repair of vehicles and weapons,” said Emmanuel Macron.

Answering a question about the supply of military aircraft to Ukraine, the French president said he had not discussed this issue with Volodymyr Zelenskyy during his visit. “I didn’t talk about planes. I talked about missiles. I talked about training,” he said. When asked about the training of Ukrainian pilots on French military aircraft, he added that there are no obstacles or prohibitions in this regard. “We are open to training pilots, we are negotiating with other countries, including the Americans,” the President of the Republic added.

The United Kingdom was the first to confirm that it had provided Ukraine with Storm Shadow long-range cruise missiles, so perhaps France was inspired by its example. The country has several hundred Storm Shadows in service, only in France they are called SCALP-EG.

In the coming weeks, France will also send dozens of armoured vehicles and light tanks to Ukraine, including AMX-10RC combat vehicles. Since April, French instructors based in Poland have trained a battalion of 600 soldiers. Overall, this year France promises to train 2,000 Ukrainian soldiers on its territory and another 4,000 in Poland.

La Stampa also reports that Ukraine has received SAMP/T anti-aircraft missile system from France and Italy, and 20 specialists are involved in its maintenance.

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