France and the United States will supply Ukraine with armored vehicles, as Kiev continues to press NATO for heavy tanks to fend off Russian troops.
During a phone call on Wednesday, French President Emmanuel Macron told his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelensky, that Paris would send Kiev light AMX-10 RC armored combat vehicles, Reuters cited a French official as saying.
"This is the first time that Western-made armored vehicles are being delivered in support of the Ukrainian army," the official said after an hour-long phone conversation between the two leaders. No details were given about the volume or timing of the planned shipments.
The AMX-10 RC is manufactured by Nexter Systems for armored purposes and is described as a wheeled tank destroyer or light tank.
The official said that talks between Paris and Kiev would continue regarding the potential delivery of other vehicle types.
In a video address, Zelensky thanked his French counterpart for the announcement, saying that it demonstrated the need for others to provide heavier weapons.
"This is something that sends a clear signal to all our partners: there is no rational reason why Ukraine has not yet been supplied with Western tanks," the Ukrainian president said. "We must put an end to the Russian aggression this year," he said, adding that "modern Western armored vehicles and Western-type tanks" were major assets that Ukraine needed.
In a statement posted on Telegram, Zelensky said he and Macron had "agreed on further cooperation to significantly strengthen our air defense and other defense capabilities."
Last year, Macron sent several Caesar howitzers to Ukraine.
Later on Wednesday, American President Joe Biden confirmed that the provision of US-produced Bradley Fighting Vehicles to Ukraine was also under consideration. He added that the Bradleys could be included in a package of weapons to be announced as soon as this week.
Russia started what it calls "a special military operation" in Ukraine with the declared aim of "de-Nazifying" the country on February 24, 2022. Since then, the US and Europe have imposed waves of unprecedented economic sanctions on Moscow and supplied large consignments of heavy weaponry to Kiev. The Kremlin has said the sanctions and the Western military assistance will prolong the war.
Despite Moscow's warnings, the US also plans to send Patriot missile systems to Ukraine.
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