Nearly 2 years after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, a new step has been taken to support Ukraine in defending itself. An “artillery coalition” is launched in Paris this Thursday, January 18. What will this coalition be used for, how will it work and what help will it provide to Ukrainian soldiers?
A coalition of 50 countries
The coalition will be made up of more than fifty countries. It will be led by France and the United States. This coalition is one of the components of the contact group for the defense of Ukraine known as the Ramstein group. Ukrainian Defense Minister Roustem Umerov was due to come to Paris but his visit was canceled at the last moment “for security reasons”.
Helping Ukraine with its counter-offensive
The “artillery coalition” aims to “bring together efforts to help Ukraine – in the short and long term – to have an artillery force adapted to the needs of the counter-offensive and its army of tomorrow”, indicated the French Ministry of the Armed Forces.
France will supply weapons
Ukraine still has a stock of Soviet cannons. They are adapted to 122 mm shells while Western systems use 155 mm shells. To arm these cannons, the European Union had announced the supply of one million munitions to Ukraine by spring 2024. Only 300,000 shells have been delivered to date, according to European parliamentarians. To accelerate the pace, initial production from 1000 units per month to 2000 units in the first year of war must increase to 3000 units per month from this month of January 2024.
To help Ukraine defend itself, France will produce 78 Caesar cannons in 2024 and early 2025, announced Minister of the Armed Forces Sébastien Lecornu in an interview with Le Parisien. Six guns will be financed by Ukraine and will be delivered “in the coming weeks”, the other 72 Caesar guns will have to find funding. Since the start of the war, France has already sold or ceded 30 units to Ukraine.
Sébastien Lecornu also announced the delivery of around fifty A2SM surface-to-air missiles per month from January, throughout the year. Medium range, they will be able to adapt to “Soviet class” aircraft such as Migs and Sukhoi, which Ukraine uses.
Recently, Emmanuel Macron announced new deliveries of around forty Scalp missiles, long-range missiles. Ukraine, targeted almost every night by drones and missiles launched by Moscow, has also expressed the need to strengthen its anti-aircraft defense.
Help Ukraine produce its weapons
On Saturday, during his first visit to Ukraine, the new French Minister of Foreign Affairs Stéphane Séjourné raised the possibility of “strengthening the Ukrainian capacity to produce on its soil” the weapons it needs. Almost two years after the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the front has been virtually frozen for many months. Emmanuel Macron will visit Ukraine in February 2024.
This article is originally published on ladepeche.fr