France made a commitment on Sunday to provide additional military aid for Ukraine, including light tanks, armored vehicles, soldier training, and other forms of assistance.
This pledge came after surprise talks in Paris between Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and French President Emmanuel Macron. The meeting took place at the French presidential Elysee Palace and lasted approximately three hours.
It was kept secret until shortly before Zelenskyy’s arrival in Paris from Germany, where he traveled on a French government aircraft as part of his European tour.
Ukraine’s Intention to launch a Counteroffensive Against Russia
Given Ukraine’s intention to launch a counteroffensive against Russian forces and reclaim occupied territory, military aid was a key focus of the discussion. Macron’s office stated that France plans to deliver dozens of light tanks and armored vehicles in the upcoming weeks, although they did not disclose specific numbers.
Furthermore, the French government made a pledge to provide additional air defense systems, but they have not yet disclosed specific details.
France plans to make more Ukrainians battle-ready by aiming to train about 2,000 Ukrainian soldiers in France this year and nearly 4,000 others in Poland as part of a broader European effort, as stated by Macron’s office.
In a statement, France described its support for Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity as “unwavering” and promised that its political, economic, humanitarian and military aid will continue “for as long as necessary.”
In a tweet on his arrival, Zelenskyy said: “With each visit, Ukraine’s defense and offensive capabilities are expanding. The ties with Europe are getting stronger, and the pressure on Russia is growing.”
France has supplied Ukraine with an array of weaponry, include air defense systems, light tanks, howitzers and other arms and equipment and fuel.
France dispatched a plane to pick up Zelenskyy in Germany, where he met with Chancellor Olaf Scholz earlier Sunday and discussed his country’s planned counteroffensive. Zelenskyy said it will aim to liberate Russian-occupied areas within Ukraine’s internationally recognized borders, and not attack Russian territory.