France sends Ukraine air-defence missiles and more weapons

Russia requires security guarantees as part of negotiated end to conflict, Macron says

French President Emmanuel Macron on the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle, sailing between the Suez canal and the Red Sea on Tuesday. AFP
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France has sent more air-defence missile systems and other weapons to Ukraine, and will deliver more early next year, French President Emmanuel Macron said on Tuesday.

"In recent days, France has sent Ukraine more arms, rocket launchers, Crotale [air-defence batteries], equipment beyond what we had already done," Mr Macron told France's TF1 and LCI television.

He was speaking aboard the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle off Egypt's coast, a day before visiting Jordan for a regional summit on Tuesday.

"We are also working with the Armed Forces Minister [Sebastien Lecornu] to be able to deliver useful arms and ammunition again in the first quarter, so that the Ukrainians would be able to defend themselves against bombardments," Mr Macron said.

The planned shipments include new Caesar mobile artillery units, but he gave no figures.

Mr Macron said the number would depend on the outcome of discussions with Denmark, which had ordered the Caesar guns from France and might agree to give at least some of them to Kyiv.

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Since Russia's invasion in February, France has sent Ukraine 18 Caesar units, a 155mm howitzer mounted on a six-wheeled truck chassis, capable of firing shells at ranges of more than 40km.

Mr Macron said he had two "red lines" when it came to arms deliveries — that it did not affect France's ability to defend itself, and did not make Paris a co-belligerent in the war.

The arms were to "enable Ukraine to defend itself" amid a relentless barrage of Russian missiles and drone attacks, he said.

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Paris has also already delivered anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles, and armoured personnel carriers.

Mr Macron also repeated his controversial statement that Russia would require security guarantees as part of a negotiated end to the conflict.

Critics in eastern Europe and Ukraine believe he should not be publicly raising concessions to Russia at a time when its army is occupying parts of Ukraine and deliberately firing at civilians.

Putin sounds out Russian military chiefs on progress of Ukraine war - video

Putin sounds out Russian military chiefs on progress of Ukraine war

Putin sounds out Russian military chiefs on progress of Ukraine war

"If anyone criticises me for projecting forward to this issue, let them explain what they are proposing," Mr Macron said.

"What the people who refuse to prepare or work for it are proposing is total war. It will affect the whole continent."

Mr Macron maintains that only Ukraine should define the terms of any armistice with Russia, not the country's western backers.

Updated: December 20, 2022, 11:50 PM