A coalition of 23 countries announced this Thursday more artillery shipments to Ukraine to face the Russian attacks, just a few weeks after the two years of this war. Among the member states of this new group are France, USA, Canada, Spain, Germany and Türkiyeamong others.
In a virtual participation in the meeting that brought together the participating nations in Paris, the Ukrainian Minister of Defense assured that “there is no alternative to modern artillery” and “we must continue our efforts and increase our production of ammunition.” Likewise, the official took advantage of his speech to emphasize the “ammunition shortage” that their troops face on the front lines, a “real and pressing” problem which could delay their offensives and affect their ability to defend, if not resolved soon.
“We have to strengthen Ukrainian defense capabilities to protect the free world against the Russian danger,” he later added in a message on social media.
The announcement came at a time when Ramstein, the contact group for the defense of Ukraine, made up of more than 50 countries divided into subgroups, has practically frozen its activities for months, which generated complaints from kyiv.
For its part, France committed to going even further with its shipments and announced the unblocking of 50 million euros (USD 54 million) that will be allocated to 12 Caesar cannons, which usually travel in trucks and can launch 155-millimeter howitzers at a distance of 40 kilometers. In the past, both Paris and Copenhagen had supplied Kiev with this weapon, manufactured by the French company Nexter, so the six new ones that will arrive “in the coming weeks” will be added to the already existing 49.
Since they are nationally manufactured, France has the capacity to produce the cannons for a value of 250 million euros (USD 270 million), a cost “accessible to the different budgets of the allies” participating in the agreement. Even the French Minister of Defense, Sébastien Lecornu, announced that work is being done against the clock to produce 72 more of these cannons before the beginning of 2025, of which 12 will be fully financed by his nation and only 60 will remain to be divided among the allies.
For his part, President Volodimir Zelensky spoke with his counterpart Emmanuel Macron and thanked him for the coalition’s drive as well as his commitment to sending artillery this year. Also, the leaders took advantage of the call to address in detail the situation on the battlefield and Kiev’s specific defense needs, which included a list of weapons that could be part of the Elysee Palace’s next military aid package.
“It is important to continue strengthening Ukraine’s air defense system,” Zelensky insisted on his Telegram channel.
Finally, the President extended his gratitude to French companies for their active support and investments in the matter, which allow the arrival of key weapons, and announced that the cabinets of both countries received instructions to “begin preparing for the President’s next visit.” French to Ukraine” in which a bilateral agreement on security guarantees, similar to the one that kyiv reached days ago with the United Kingdom.
(With information from AFP and EFE)