France vows to reinforce arms deliveries to Ukraine


PARIS 

France’s foreign minister promised Monday to continue and strengthen arms deliveries to Ukraine during her first visit to the war-ravaged country.

Catherine Colonna, who is also the first senior member of the French government to visit the East European nation since the start of the Russian war, assured her Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba that Paris is strongly committed to providing Ukraine with defense equipment and said deliveries will take place in the coming weeks.

Her statement came even as Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov accused France of “actively arming Ukraine, including with offensive weapons.”

While addressing a press conference, Kuleba said he raised the issue of artillery supplies with Colonna. 

“We need to strengthen our artillery potential in the Donbas,” he said, requesting additional deliveries of 155 mm artillery.

France has provided around $2 billion worth of military and humanitarian aid so far, she said. This includes Milan anti-tank missiles, Caesar self-propelled howitzers, guns and shells.

Besides arms delivery, Kuleba also asked France to help Ukraine get candidate status at the European Union and convince other member states who are still hesitant about granting Kyiv membership to the regional bloc. Colonna assured him that France would consider the “legitimate request” as it is favorable towards an “accelerated rapprochement.”

Colonna is on a two-day visit to Ukraine. On the first day, she visited the city of Boucha, where war crimes allegedly committed by Russian forces against civilians had come to light, and handed over 12 new firefighting vehicles and ambulances to the interior minister.



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