The French government has announced that it will no longer be sending weapons directly to Ukraine from its own arsenal, but will instead allow Ukraine to purchase arms directly from French manufacturers. This announcement was made by French Minister of the Armed Forces, Sebastien Lecornu. The decision is supported by a new support fund that will enable Ukraine to buy arms directly from French manufacturers.
Lecornu stated, “We are now negotiating with our Ukrainian colleagues to prompt Ukraine to buy new howitzers using money from a special fund, and so that the French military will no longer have to transfer guns from their arsenals.” This decision comes in the wake of a parliamentary report that revealed French military aid to Ukraine has reached €3.2 billion ($3.4 billion). This substantial amount has positioned France as one of the leading European supporters of the Ukrainian Army, alongside Germany and the UK.
In addition to the current aid, France has pledged an additional €200 million ($213 million) to Ukraine’s support fund to ensure that the Ukrainian Army will have continued access to French military equipment. However, the fund can only be used for arms purchases from French contractors.
The large sum of money being allocated from the French government to support Ukraine’s purchase of arms reflects France’s new strategy for procuring equipment for the Ukrainian Army. The French Ministry of Defense’s budget will see a significant increase next year, with a 7.5% surge, reaching $50.4 billion in accordance with the new law on military programming for the years 2024-2030.
Since the beginning of the Ukraine conflict, France has transferred a substantial amount of military equipment to Kiev. This includes 30 Caesar cannons, several dozen armored personnel carriers (VAB), and AMX-10 RC armored reconnaissance vehicles. Additionally, France has supplied Ukraine with 15 155mm TRF1 howitzers, around 100 Mistral surface-to-air missiles, and two unitary rocket launchers.
The decision to allow Ukraine to purchase arms directly from French manufacturers marks a significant shift in France’s approach to supporting the Ukrainian Army. This new strategy highlights the ongoing commitment of the French government to provide military support to Ukraine, as well as the desire to streamline the procurement process to ensure that Ukraine has the necessary equipment to defend itself.
Overall, the decision to allow Ukraine to bypass the traditional method of receiving military aid and instead purchase arms directly from French manufacturers reflects a significant change in France’s approach to supporting the Ukrainian Army. This will not only provide Ukraine with the necessary equipment to defend itself, but also strengthen the relationship between France and Ukraine.