March 19, 2023
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Emmanuel Macron has pledged to provide Ukraine with light armoured vehicles to help in the war against Russia. The Elysée made the announcement following a phone call between the French President and his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky late Wednesday.

The presidential office did not give any details about how many of the AMX-10 vehicles would be sent nor the timing of the planned shipments, but said talks would continue regarding the potential delivery of other vehicle types.

“The president wanted to amplify military aid to Ukraine” an Elysée official said. “This is the first time that tanks designed in the west are being delivered in support of the Ukrainian army.”

France will also send Bastion armoured personnel carriers, bought using a €200 million fund set up for Ukraine to purchase military equipment.

Following the announcement, Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna said it was France’s “duty to help Ukraine”.

She told LCI television on Thursday: “What’s happening in Ukraine does not only concern Ukrainians.”

Major assets


The AMX-10 vehicles are much lighter than the Leclerc tanks which Zelensky initially asked France to supply.

But Zelensky warmly thanked Macron and said it showed the need for others to provide heavier weapons.

“This is something that sends a clear signal to all our partners – there is no rational reason why Ukraine has not yet been supplied with western tanks,” he said in a video address.

“We must put an end to the Russian aggression this year,” Zelensky said, adding that “modern Western armoured vehicles and Western-type tanks” were major assets that Ukraine needed.

“Thank you friend. Your leadership brings our victory closer,” he said on Twitter.

‘Further cooperation’


In a statement posted on Telegram, Zelensky said the two leaders had “agreed on further cooperation to significantly strengthen our air defence and other defence capabilities”. He did not give further details.

Zelensky has repeatedly asked Western allies for heavier fighting vehicles such as the German-made Leopard tanks.

Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on 24 February last year, France has supplied Ukraine notably with 18 Caesar howitzers and more recently rocket launchers and Crotale air defence systems.

Paris is considering providing Kyiv with between six to 12 more Caesar howitzers from an order destined for Denmark, but discussions are still underway.


The French-made AMX-10 is an armed reconnaissance vehicle that runs on wheels not tracks. It is light and more mobile than a tank and can carry four people.

Launched 40 years ago, it was used in the first war in Iraq, in Afghanistan and in the Sahel.

The French army has gradually replaced it with the very modern Jaguar, and only around 200 AMX-10 vehicles remain.


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