France sends air defense missiles to Ukraine: Macron

Macron caps US visit with New Orleans trip, meetup with Musk

France has delivered more air defense missile systems and other weapons to Ukraine and will send more early next year, French President Emmanuel Macron said in an interview aired Tuesday.

“In recent days, France has sent Ukraine more arms, rocket launchers, Crotale (air defense batteries), equipment beyond what we had already done,” 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 (of 2023), so that the Ukrainians would be able to defend themselves against bombardments,” said Macron.

The planned shipments include new Caesar mobile artillery units, but Macron provided no precise figures.

The president said the number “will depend” on the outcome of ongoing discussions with Denmark, which had ordered the Caesar guns from France and may agree to give at least some of them to Kyiv.

Since Russia’s invasion in February, France has sent Ukraine 18 Caesar units, a 155-mm howitzer mounted on a six-wheeled truck chassis, capable of firing shells at ranges of more than 40 kilometers (25 miles).

Macron said that 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” in the face of a relentless barrage of Russian missiles and drone attacks, he said.

Paris has also already delivered anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles, as well as armored personnel carriers.

The 44-year-old leader 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 Macron should not be publicly raising making concessions to Russia, at a time when its army is occupying parts of Ukraine and deliberately targeting civilians.

“If anyone criticizes me for projecting forward to this issue, let them explain what they are proposing,” Macron said in the interview.

“What the people who refuse to prepare or work for it are proposing is total war. It will affect the whole continent,” he added.

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

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