Warning: Macron is not doing his part in the conflict as well as countries like the UK and the US.
France is losing relevance in the Ukraine war, and France should do more to increase its weapons stock, warns a French defense expert.
Concerns that President Emmanuel Macron may not be pulling his weight when it comes to military support for Ukraine came amid reports that France would pledge six to twelve more high-tech artillery guns on Monday.
Macron could confirm the transfer of Caesar’s self-propelled howitzers to Ukraine when he meets German leaders in Berlin Monday.
According to the Kiel Institute for the World Economy, the country has given EUR233 million so far in military aid, compared with EUR25billion from the United States, EUR4billion from Britain and EUR1.8billion from Poland.
Francois Heisbourg, a senior military strategist and member of the International Institute for Strategic Studies, said that there is a gap between France’s ambitions and Ukraine’s efforts to help it.
“Today Paris is not a factor in the conflict. Nobody talks about French arms except the Caesars. He told Le Monde newspaper that France’s support for Ukraine was far below what one would expect from a country this large.
He noted that France provided only a fifth of the military support that Britain had given and that France was responsible for around 2% of all foreign arms delivery.
“The relative weakness in French military support tends t weaken our country’s credibility with our partner, especially in eastern Europe.” In a separate interview, he stated that it contributes to the perpetuation of the myth that French leaders are ambiguous or complacent regarding Russia.
France has given 18 Caesar self-propelled artillery pieces to the Ukrainian front line.
This represents one-quarter of France’s mobile artillery, and military chiefs warned that it couldn’t give more without making it vulnerable in other areas.
Jerome Pellistrandi (editor of the National Defence Review) stated that France is supplying better quality aid than other countries like Poland, which has sent Soviet-era weapons to Kyiv. He said that while it might seem like France is behind other countries, France still intends to play its part.
Unidentified aid includes armoured fighting vehicles, trucks and Milan anti-tank missiles, Mistral Anti-Aircraft missiles, and combat equipment like body armour and binoculars.
After visiting Ukraine, however, Mr Heisbourg stated that few people had mentioned France’s support.
“When I was in Kyiv everyone was very polite. He said that he didn’t think the Ukrainians would disapprove of us. It was worse in a certain way. “I had a distinct feeling that we were losing our relevance.”
The debate over French contributions began Monday when Elisabeth Borne, the country’s prime Minister, told parliament that Western sanctions were “suffocating” the Russian economy and should be maintained.
She stated that the objective of the war was the same from the beginning: to make Russia’s costs prohibitive and hit Russia’s economy hard in order to stop it from financing its offensive.
“Moscow is trying to keep its illusion. The facts are clear. We shouldn’t be fooled by Russian propaganda. She added that the Russian economy is “suffocating”.
Ms Borne’s comments were partly directed at parties opposing her minority government, particularly the National Rally that has previously received loans from Russian banks and whose defacto leader Marine Le Pen was photographed shaking hands in Moscow with President Vladimir Putin.
“Abandoning sanctions would mean abandoning Ukraine. It would mean renoncing our values. It would mean submitting to Russia. France, patriotism means not abandoning, ni giving up, and not submitting to Russia,” she stated.
“These sanctions are working, regardless of whether they conceal their fascination with Russian imperialism with claims like patriotism or not.”
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