France Promises Ukraine Armored Vehicles, U.S. Weighs Doing the Same

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France has promised to send Ukraine armored combat vehicles and President Biden said the United States is weighing supplying Bradley Fighting Vehicles, signs that Ukraine’s allies are expanding support for Kyiv’s war effort against Russia.

President Emmanuel Macron pledged to provide AMX-10 RC armored vehicles in a phone call with President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine, the French presidency said.

Mr. Macron’s office did not specify how many of the vehicles would be delivered or when. The vehicles, which have a cannon like a tank but move on tires instead of tracks, are usually used for armed reconnaissance.

Also on Wednesday, Mr. Biden confirmed, in response to a reporter’s question, that the United States was considering sending Bradley vehicles, which would broaden the array of weapons being provided to Ukraine. Last month, he agreed to supply Kyiv with the U.S.’s most advanced ground-based air defense system, the Patriot.

The Ukrainians have asked allies for more advanced weapons they say will be critical for their fight against Russia, some of which the United States or Europe have been reluctant to provide for fear of escalation. Even so, the types of weapons allies have been willing to send Ukraine have expanded as the war has stretched on and Russian aggression has intensified.

Mr. Zelensky reiterated his request for more advanced arms in his nightly address Wednesday.

“We must put an end to the Russian aggression this year exactly and not postpone any of the defensive capabilities that can speed up the defeat of the terrorist state,” he said. “Modern Western armored vehicles, Western-type tanks are just one of these key capabilities.”

Mr. Zelensky thanked Mr. Macron on Twitter for the pledge, and he said the two leaders had also agreed “on further cooperation to significantly strengthen Ukrainian air defense and other defense capabilities.”

“Thank you friend!” Mr. Zelensky said in a Twitter post after the call. “Your leadership brings our victory closer.”

France has already delivered armored personnel carriers to Ukraine, as well as rocket launchers, air defense missile systems, anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles and at least 18 Caesar howitzers.

Several of Ukraine’s allies have pledged or delivered armored personnel carriers or armored vehicles with offensive capabilities, including German and British antiaircraft vehicles and Soviet-designed tanks from Eastern European countries like Poland.

But Ukraine is also seeking heavier fighting vehicles that its allies have hesitated to provide. Germany, for instance, remains locked in debate about whether to send Leopard 2 battle tanks.

Still, the AMX-10 RC — which the French presidency said was the first “Western-designed” armored vehicle pledged to Ukraine — could provide new capabilities to Ukrainian forces battling the Russian Army.

The AMX-10 RC is manned by four people and is a “powerfully armed armored reconnaissance vehicle with very good road and cross-country mobility” that is also “protected against light infantry weapons,” according to the French Army’s website.

Manufactured by Nexter, a French company, the AMX-10 RC weighs 20 tons, moves around with six wheels — not tracks — and is equipped with a 105-millimeter cannon and two 7.62-millimeter machine guns. The French Army has been using the vehicles since the 1980s, but started replacing them with a newer model in 2020.

Mr. Macron has in the past come under fire from some allies, especially in Eastern Europe, for comments on Russia’s inclusion in a new “stability order” in Europe, and for his insistence on not antagonizing Russia and keeping diplomatic channels open with President Vladimir V. Putin. But Mr. Macron has also expressed unequivocal support for a Ukrainian victory in the war.

Victoria Kim contributed reporting.


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