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France to Send 12 Additional Caesar Howitzers to Ukraine

France to Send 12 Additional Caesar Howitzers to Ukraine

Tuesday, 31 January, 2023 - 16:45
Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov shakes hands with French Defense Minister Sebastien Lecornu during a press conference as part of Ukraine's Defense Minister's official visit, at the Hotel de Brienne, the French Ministry of Armed Forces, in Paris on January 31, 2023. (Reuters)

France said on Tuesday it will send 12 additional Caesar howitzers to Ukraine and has discussed training Ukrainian pilots to fly French fighter jets as part of military assistance to Kyiv in the war with Russia.

Speaking after meeting with his Ukrainian counterpart Oleksii Reznikov in Paris, Defense Minister Sebastien Lecornu said France will also send 150 army staff to Poland to train up to 600 Ukrainian soldiers per month there.

Paris has already delivered 18 Caesar howitzers to Kyiv. The additional 12 Caesar Howitzers will be funded by a 200-million-euro ($217 million) fund approved by the French parliament, Lecornu said.

"If these 12 Caesar are possible, it is because Nexter (the manufacturer) has increased production capacity," he added.

On Monday when asked about sending fighter jets to Ukraine, President Emmanuel Macron had said at a press conference in the Hague "by definition, nothing is excluded".

Lecornu reiterated that position on Tuesday, saying "there was no taboo" when asked the same question.

France's position when it came to supplying arms to Ukraine was that it should not weaken France's own defense capacity, that it should be useful and practical to help Kyiv in the war with Russia and that the weapons be used only by Ukraine to defend itself, he said.

Training Ukrainian pilots to fly fighter jets was "part of our discussions but no decision has yet been taken on that issue," Lecornu said.

Reznikov said on Tuesday that a decision by France this month to provide Kyiv with light AMX-10 RC armored combat vehicles had had a "snowball" effect, with other allies later promising to send tanks.

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