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France to send European equivalent of American Patriot Aster 30 missiles to Ukraine

The military aid France is to send to Ukraine is not new, but “still operational.” According to French Defense Minister Lecornu “transfer of weapons to Ukraine does not affect France’s national security, as they are decommissioned.”
SAMP/T air defense system. Credit: French Ministry of Defense
France to send European equivalent of American Patriot Aster 30 missiles to Ukraine

The defense minister said that transferring weapons to Ukraine does not affect France’s national security, as they are decommissioned.

French Defense Minister Sébastien Lecornu announced in the interview with La Tribune that France would provide Ukraine with “hundreds” of decommissioned but operational armored vehicles and Aster missiles.

“To hold such a large front line, the Ukrainian army needs, for example, our (VAB) armored vehicles for the front line. It’s key for troop mobility.” He said, “This old equipment, still operational, will be able to benefit Ukraine in large quantities directly. We can talk about hundreds for 2024 and early 2025.”

Ukraine’s military faces significant weaponry, including ammunition and anti-missile facilities, as US Congress stalls in approving over $60 billion in aid package. Recently, the Czech Republic announced finding 800,000 rounds, with a potential for 1.5 million, in non-EU countries – mostly 155mm NATO caliber with some Soviet caliber. 15 partners have joined the initiative so far. However, according to Estonian Defense Minister Hanno Pevkur, funds are still lacking to purchase all the artillery ammunition for Ukraine under the Czech initiative.

The VAB armored personnel carriers, over 40 years old, are being replaced by the new-generation Griffon armored vehicles in the French army.

Addressing Kyiv’s pressing demands to bolster its air defense capabilities, Lecornu said, “We will also unblock a new batch of Aster 30 missiles” for the SAMP/T MAMBA system, the European equivalent of the American Patriot. “We are also developing remote-controlled munitions in very short timeframes to deliver them to the Ukrainians as early as this summer,” the minister added.

Lecornu had said he would not rule out requisitioning or forcing industries to prioritize military needs over civilian ones to accelerate production. Paris is calling on the French defense industry to produce more and faster to meet the needs of its military and sustain long-term support for Ukraine.

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