France to send light battle tanks to Ukraine in first for Kyiv
France will send light battle tanks to Ukraine, becoming the first nation to arm Kyiv with Western-style combat tanks in the war against Russia.
French President Emmanuel Macron agreed to supply Ukraine with the light tanks along with more armored carrier vehicles called Bastions after a phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Wednesday.
The Ukrainian leader shared the news on Twitter.
“Had a long and detailed conversation with President of France @EmmanuelMacron
on the current situation,” Zelensky tweeted. “Thanked for the decision to transfer light tanks and Bastion APCs to Ukraine, as well as for intensifying work with partners in the same direction.”
Zelensky also said he and Macron agreed to strengthen air defenses and other defense capabilities in the wake of Russia’s continued missile attacks against Ukrainian infrastructure and energy grids.
Officials with the Élysée Palace on Wednesday confirmed that France would ship the tanks to Ukraine, according to France24.
The AMX-10 RC is extremely mobile and can be used for reconnaissance missions as well as fire support in combat.
The combat tanks come equipped with a 105 mm firing cannon and an attached machine gun.
The AMX-10 RC will be the first Western-designed battle tanks supplied to Kyiv since the invasion nearly a year ago, but the Czech Republic has modified Soviet-era T-72 tanks for use in Ukraine, which the U.S. has helped pay for.
The Biden administration is also mulling whether to ship over Bradley Fighting Vehicles, medium armored combat vehicles that are lighter and more agile than tanks.
President Biden on Wednesday said he was considering offering Kyiv the Bradley vehicles, The Associated Press reported.
Ukraine has been pressing for more defense systems and tanks for months as fighting continues to drag out in the eastern region of the country.
The Biden administration delivered the sought-after Patriot missile defense system to Ukraine after Zelensky paid a visit to Washington last month.
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