France ramps up support for Ukraine with air defence systems and training

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France has pledged to support Ukraine in its war against Russia by sending air defence systems and military training.

French Defense Minister Sébastien Lecornu confirmed details of the country’s plan to send military aid to Ukraine, which also includes training of troops.

In an interview with Le Parisien, the minister said up to 2,000 Ukrainian soldiers will be embedded with military units in France, rotating through several weeks of combat training, more specialised training in logistics, and other needs.

“We are noting the fact that the war, alas, will last,” the newspaper quoted the minister as saying. “A new generation of soldiers must also be trained, to last the distance.”

It is not the first time that France has supplied military training to Ukraine. The country previously trained Ukrainian artillery troops to use Caesar self-propelled howitzers it supplied, reports Military.com.

The minister said that this new training is “a very important step,” adding, “We are changing the scale.”

The defense system, which consists of Crotale air defense missile batteries, “will be particularly useful in the fight against drones and against aerial bombardments.”

The minister did not specify how many of the 12 batteries that France has will be sent to Ukraine’s war effort, but said “it will be significant to enable them to defend their skies.”

The plan is for Ukraine to deploy them in two months, which gives the military enough time to take part in the training on how to use them.

In addition, France also has set up a fund of 100 million euros ($97 million) “which the Ukrainians can use to buy what they want, on condition that the supplier is French,” the minster said.

Among recipients of the first Ukrainian orders using the fund is a French firm that will supply pontoon bridges, he said.