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Moscow: New Ukraine-bound Western armored vehicles only ‘deepen suffering of Ukrainian people'

A French AMX-10 RC light wheeled tank is equipped with a 105-mm gun. (File photo)

Moscow says new Ukraine-bound Western armored vehicles will only deepen the suffering of Ukrainians, as Kiev continues to press NATO for heavy tanks to fend off Russian troops.

Last week, French President Emmanuel Macron promised his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelensky, that Paris would send Kiev light AMX-10 RC armored combat vehicles, which are described as a wheeled tank destroyer or light tank.

US President Joe Biden also confirmed last week that the provision of US-produced Bradley Fighting Vehicles to Ukraine was also under consideration., adding that the Bradleys could be included in a package of weapons to be sent to the ex-Soviet republic.

The United Kingdom also reportedly is mulling sending the British Army's Challenger 2 main battle tank to Ukraine.

In response to the potential deliveries, the Kremlin said the new Western armored vehicles would not change anything in the battlefield in favor of Kiev.

"This supply will not be able to change anything", Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Monday, adding, "Fundamentally, these supplies can only add to the pain of the Ukrainian people and prolong their suffering. They are not capable of stopping us from achieving the goals of the special military operation."

Russia started its "special military operation" in Ukraine with the declared aim of "de-Nazifying" the country on February 24, 2022. Since then, the United States and Europe have imposed waves of unprecedented economic sanctions on Moscow and supplied large consignments of heavy weaponry to Kiev. The Kremlin has time and again warned the sanctions and the Western military assistance will only prolong the war.

Moscow is critical of Paris for its new decision to send light AMX-10 RC armored combat vehicles to Kiev, but the Kremlin has appreciated Macron's contribution toward maintaining dialog between the West and Russia.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Macron "maintain contact, there are pauses in the dialog, but during previous stages that contact was quite useful and constructive, despite all the differences," Peskov said.

Last year, Macron sent several Caesar howitzers to Ukraine.

If Paris delivers AMX-10 RC armored combat vehicles to Kiev, France will become the first Western country to send tanks to Ukraine.

After Macron committed to on Wednesday to send tanks to Ukraine, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz also faced renewed calls to send Ukraine Leopard 2 tanks, long sought by Kiev.

Prior to France's move, Berlin persistently refused to supply Kiev with the tanks, arguing that no other Western partners had thus far provided such armaments. After the announcement by Macron, critics said that Scholz could no longer hide behind that argument.

On Friday, German government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit said that Berlin was sending 40 Marder fighting vehicles infantry fighting vehicles within weeks as part of a new phase of support coordinated with Washington, answering calls for more heavy weapons to fend off Russian forces.

"These 40 vehicles are to be ready in the first quarter so that they can then be handed over to Ukraine," he said, adding that training for Ukrainian troops to use the vehicles would be provided in Germany.

However, a German government spokesperson said at a regular briefing on Monday that Berlin had no current plans to send Leopard 2 tanks to the war-hit country.

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