In principle, nothing is forbidden“. So the French president, Emmanuel Macron, answered the question about possible supply of combat aircraft to Ukraine, hitherto always excluded by the Western Allies. But it must not “weaken the French army”, Macron continued, adding: “We will see on a case-by-case basis”.
TANKS – The tanks, donated by the UK, will be operational in Ukraine probably in the spring. This was assured by the British Defense Minister, Ben Wallace, responding to the House of Commons on the delivery times to Kiev of the 14 Challengers and the 2 promised from London. “It will be in May or probably around Easter,” he said, specifying that security reasons prevent him from disclosing the training schedule of the Ukrainian forces on the use of tanks. Wallace stressed that the second part of the training will teach Ukrainians to fight in formation.
DRONES – The Ukrainian armed forces will equip themselves with drones this year for a total cost of around 500 million euros. Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov announced it on Facebook, according to Sky News UK. “In 2023 we will increase the supply of drones for the armed forces”, writes the minister, speaking of an investment of 20 billion hryvnias and 16 supply contracts already signed. Ukraine has already received a significant amount of drones from Turkey (Byratkar TB2 equipped with missiles) and Norway (Black Hornet reconnaissance), but now intends to increase domestic production. Reznikov announced last week that he would start production of assault drones by the army.
HOITCHES FOR UKRAINE – France and Australia announced the joint production of howitzers for Ukraine. “We will jointly manufacture several thousand 155 mm howitzers,” said French Defense Minister Sebastien Lecornu, at a press conference in Paris together with his Australian colleague Richard Marles. The latter spoke of a “multi-million (Australian) dollar” project.
EUROPE – The decision to send tanks to Kiev “is not an escalation”, but “the response to Russia’s decision” to proceed with an escalation of “massacres and bloodshed against civilian targets” in Ukraine. This was stated by the spokesman of the European Commission for Foreign Affairs Peter Stano, in Brussels during the briefing with the press.
The EU, he adds, given that Russia “is not ceasing its illegal aggression against Ukraine, must help Kiev to defend itself. Ukraine is defending its territory and its people from aggression, the ultimate goal of which is destroy the country and the nation”, concludes Stano.