French President Emmanuel Macron has announced that France will supply Ukraine with long-range missiles, Le Monde reports. Macron stated, “We have decided to deliver new missiles capable of deep strikes to Ukraine,” Macron said upon arriving at the summit site in Vilnius, Lithuania. “I think today what is important for us is to send a message of support for Ukraine, of NATO unity and of determination that Russia cannot, must not win this was,” he added.
The missiles in question are likely long-range SCALP missiles, as reported by LeMonde. The SCALP is the French name for the Storm Shadow missile, a British-French long-range missile designed to destroy important stationary targets well protected by anti-aircraft defenses.
In general, the French and British versions of the missile are identical. The differences lie in the software and missile-carrying aircraft. In particular, the SCALP was used to develop the Black Shaheen (an export modification commissioned by the UAE) and the MdCN (designed for use on ships and submarines).
Launched from the air, it has a range of more than 250 kilometers, more than any other weapons supplied to Kyiv by Western countries. With their long range, these missiles can reach areas in eastern Ukraine controlled by Russian forces.
Paris will thus follow London in its decision to provide guided air-to-surface missiles to hit fixed targets at long distances. France ruled out this possibility until now because of the risk of using the missiles on Russian territory. The Scalp missiles will be delivered “keeping the clarity, the consistency of our doctrine, that is to say allowing Ukraine to defend its territory,” Emmanuel Macron explained, thus implicitly excluding any use to strike Russia.
France has “less than 400” of these missiles according to the specialized magazine Defense and International Security.
The Storm Shadow was used in recent Ukrainian strategic strikes on the bridge across the Chonhar strait, which cut off Russian transport routes to occupied Crimea. Initially, Ukraine’s military leadership did not comment on this information. Still, later the head of the Main Operational Department of the General Staff, Oleksiy Hromov, confirmed that the strikes were carried out by Storm Shadow missiles.
Macron first hinted that France would deliver long-range missiles to Ukraine on 16 May: