The Minister of the Armed Forces, Sébastien Lecornu, launched an “artillery coalition” on Thursday January 18 in Paris aimed at strengthening kyiv’s capabilities against Russia. This coalition, led by France and the United States, is part of the “capability coalitions” decided in October 2023 by the contact group for the defense of Ukraine, also called the Ramstein group, which coordinates the contributions of the fifty countries allied with Kiev. Paris also obtained the right to lead, alongside Germany, the anti-aircraft defense coalition, the first working meetings of which took place in December in Berlin.

Almost two years after the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the front has been virtually frozen for many months, with the latest military counter-offensive launched at the beginning of the summer by Kiev not having had the results expected. This week, President Emmanuel Macron and the Minister of the Armed Forces, Sébastien Lecornu, announced several arms deliveries to kyiv.

According to a parliamentary report presented Wednesday, November 8 before the Defense and Armed Forces Committee of the National Assembly, the cost of the military support provided until then by France to Ukraine reached 3.2 billion euros since start of the conflict on February 24, 2022, placing France in the leading group of European countries, alongside Germany and the United Kingdom. This report was intended to respond to criticism from those who say Paris is not doing enough, including the German Kiel Institute.

The parliamentary report listed the military equipment delivered to kyiv’s forces, amounting to 1.7 billion euros. Thirty Caesar cannons, the centerpiece of French artillery, were delivered to Ukraine by France, while Denmark also ceded nineteen. On Thursday, Sébastien Lecornu announced that France was ready to finance twelve additional Caesar cannons, and called on his allies to make an effort to pay for sixty more – which France has the capacity to produce, according to the minister. Finally, six other Caesar cannons, already purchased by Ukraine, will be delivered “in the coming weeks”, according to the French Ministry of the Armed Forces.

The Caesar, manufactured by French arms manufacturer Nexter, is a truck-mounted 155-millimeter cannon capable of firing six rounds per minute at a distance of 40 kilometers. Its great mobility (more than 80 kilometers per hour on the road) is an undeniable tactical asset. After firing, the machine can immediately take off again and thus avoid a retaliation.

An unspecified number – at least fifteen – of 155-millimeter TRF1 towed guns were also delivered. This is the predecessor of the Caesar which, unlike the latter, is not installed on a truck. These howitzers, which are no longer used in the French army, were also produced by Nexter. Their range is 24 kilometers with conventional projectiles and 30 kilometers with active reactive projectiles. Capable of firing six rounds per minute, they can travel at 5 miles per hour.

Several dozen armored front vehicles (VAB) and AMX-10 RC reconnaissance vehicles were also delivered. The latter are reconnaissance armored vehicles mounted on wheels, equipped with a 105-millimeter cannon and capable of firing at 2,000 meters, useful for reconnaissance missions but also for support missions.

Also delivered: around a hundred Mistral surface-to-air missiles, two unit rocket launchers, two Crotale anti-aircraft batteries, several dozen Scalp air-to-ground and Milan anti-tank missiles, Zodiac Futura boats, a SAMP/T anti-aircraft system, etc. Bulletproof vests, night vision glasses and even helmets are also part of the equipment delivered.

Still according to the report, the training provided by the French army to Ukrainian troops is estimated at 300 million euros. Paris is also contributing 1 billion euros to the European Peace Facility, a system set up to finance certain transfers from European countries to Ukraine.

Finally, France allocated 200 million euros to a fund intended to finance acquisitions made directly by Ukrainians from French arms manufacturers. Some of the Caesar cannons, a Ground Master 200 radar, motorized floating bridges and even 155-millimeter shells were purchased by kyiv using this device.

On Tuesday, President Emmanuel Macron reiterated his support for Kiev – where he will visit in February, for the second time since the start of the war – during a press conference aimed at relaunching his five-year term, announcing the delivery of ” hundreds of bombs” and 40 new long-range Scalp missiles. Of Franco-British design, these guided air-to-ground missiles are intended to attack fixed targets at long distances. Their range, officially 250 kilometers, makes it possible to reach strategic targets located behind the fighting (command centers, ammunition depots, etc.).

France will supply around fifty A2SM air-to-ground missiles per month from January and throughout the year, the Minister of the Armed Forces, Sébastien Lecornu, announced on Thursday. Medium-range, they could be adapted to “Soviet-class” aircraft, such as Migs and Sukhoi, which Ukraine uses, he assured. The A2SM, “modular air-ground weaponry”, also called “Hammer”, is a device which makes it possible to transform conventional smooth bombs of 250 to 1,000 kilos into guided projectiles with a range of up to 70 kilometers.

Mr. Lecornu welcomed on Thursday a tripling of French munitions deliveries to Ukraine, from 1,000 units per month to 2,000 during the first year of war, and which should rise to 3,000 shells from January. “We recycle powders from ammunition that has not been used,” he said.

On Wednesday, senators deplored in a report that France and European countries were “not living up to” the expectations of Ukraine, which urgently needs ammunition. “National and European production is extremely weak, the established economy does not live up to Ukrainian expectations,” insisted Cédric Perrin (Les Républicains), president of the Senate Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. , who traveled with a delegation to Warsaw and Kiev between December 19 and 21.

The Ukrainians fire between 5,000 and 8,000 times daily, compared to between 10,000 and 15,000 on the Russian side, he detailed during a press conference, recalling that France produced 20,000 155-millimeter shells per year , “the equivalent of three or four days of fighting in Ukraine…” And of the objective of one million munitions promised by the spring of 2024 by the European Union, only 300,000 shells have been delivered, a recalled Mr. Perrin.