English Section

France may send Leclerc tanks to Ukraine: Macron

23.01.2023 07:00
France’s president has said that he does not rule out sending French-made Leclerc battle tanks to war-torn Ukraine. 
Frances President Emmanuel Macron.
France's President Emmanuel Macron. European Commission, Attribution, via Wikimedia Commons

Emmanuel Macron made the declaration at a news conference in Paris on Sunday, The Kyiv Independent website reported.

The French president stated that sending tanks must not escalate the situation, must take into account the time to train Ukrainians to be effective, and must not put France's own security in danger, according to the Reuters news agency.

Macron told reporters: “Regarding the Leclercs, I asked the Army Minister [Sébastien Lecornu] to work on it, but nothing has been ruled out.”

He added that a decision on the transfer of Leclerc tanks to Ukraine would be made in the coming days and weeks but should be agreed with other allies, including Germany, according to The Kyiv Independent.

Macron was speaking at a joint news conference with the German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, following their summit meeting in Paris earlier in the day. 

‘Germany will continue to support Ukraine’: Scholz

Scholz vowed on Sunday that Germany would “continue to support Ukraine – for as long and as comprehensively as necessary,” adding: “Together, as Europeans – in defence of our European peace project,” Britain’s The Guardian newspaper reported.  

The German chancellor told the media that all weapons deliveries to Ukraine so far had been made in close coordination with Western partners. 

"We will do that in the future," he said at the news conference with Macron, as quoted by Reuters.

Germany ‘won’t stand in the way’ of Poland sending tanks to Ukraine: FM

Later on Sunday, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said her country would not stand in the way if Poland decided to send Leopard tanks to Ukraine to support its neighbour's defence efforts against Russia's invasion, news agencies reported. 

‘We will not watch Ukraine bleed to death’: Polish PM

Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said on Sunday that if Germany did not authorise Leopard 2 tank supplies to Ukraine, Poland would create a coalition of allies without Germany to supply Leopards to Kyiv "anyway," Polish state news agency PAP reported. 

“We will not passively watch Ukraine bleed to death,” Morawiecki told PAP.

He slammed Germany's reluctance to approve the deliveries of Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine. 

The Polish prime minister said: "Germany's attitude is unacceptable. It has been almost a year since the war began. Innocent people are dying every day.”

He added: "Russian bombs are causing destruction in Ukrainian cities. Civilian targets are being attacked; women and children are being murdered."

Poland, Finland and other countries are ready to provide German-made Leopard tanks to Ukraine but they need approval from the German government, The Kyiv Independent reported. 

During a meeting of Ukraine’s allies at Ramstein Air Base in Germany on Friday, Berlin avoided committing to the transfer of Leopards to Kyiv, according to news reports. 

Russian offensive in Zaporizhzhia region?

At the weekend, Russia claimed to have made advances in Ukraine’s southeastern Zaporizhzhia region, The Guardian reported on its website on Sunday

After a months-long stalemate in the province, Russian-installed officials said the front was now “mobile.”

Meanwhile, the Ukrainian army reported that 15 settlements had come under artillery fire. 

“During offensive operations in the direction of Zaporizhzhia, units of the eastern military district took up more advantageous ground and positions,” the Russian defence ministry said on Sunday, according to Reuters.

However, the head of the Ukrainian Joint Press Center of the Tavrisk Direction Defence Forces, Yevhen Yerin, said on Sunday that Russian forces were "not conducting large-scale operations in the Zaporizhia direction,” the Institute for the Study of War, a US-based think tank, reported.

Monday is day 334 of Russia’s war against Ukraine. 


Source: The Kyiv Independent, Reuters, lemonde.fr/enThe Guardian, PAP, understandingwar.org, Ukrinform