France Is Sending Cruise Missiles and Bombs to Help Ukraine Fight Russia

Cruise Missile for Ukraine
January 18, 2024 Topic: Security Region: Europe Blog Brand: The Buzz Tags: RussiaUkraineWar In UkraineFranceMilitaryDefense

France Is Sending Cruise Missiles and Bombs to Help Ukraine Fight Russia

The French military will be transferring an additional batch of SCALP-EG air-to-ground cruise missiles to Ukraine, as well as “several hundred bombs” to help Ukraine fight Russia.  

 

The Ukrainian military is at a crossroads. Its large-scale counteroffensive failed to achieve the intended results, and now, it is fighting a fierce defense against repeated Russian attacks across the contact line. Kyiv is vying for time to prepare for its next counteroffensive while also spending men and resources trying to stop Russian advances. 

To have the best chances of success, the Ukrainian forces need a constant stream of security aid. To be sure, the U.S.-led international coalition of over 40 countries has committed tens of billions of dollars worth of military aid to Kyiv. But Ukraine needs more.

 

So, it is very good news that France, perhaps the strongest military power in Europe, is stepping up its game. 

France Comes to the Aid of Ukraine

On Tuesday, French President Emmanuel Macron announced another wave of important military aid to Ukraine. 

The French military will be transferring an additional batch of SCALP-EG air-to-ground cruise missiles to Ukraine, as well as “several hundred bombs.” 

“We cannot let Russia win and we must not do that,” Macron said

The 40 SCALP-EG cruise missiles Paris will transfer to Kyiv will give the Ukrainian military a much-needed stock boost. Starting in the summer, the Ukrainian Air Force has conducted several long-range strikes deep behind the frontlines, using French SCALP-EG and British Storm Shadow cruise missiles to take out key Russian air defense systems, ammunition depots, logistical nodes, military infrastructure, and high-value targets. 

What Ukraine now needs the most is artillery munitions (lots of them), artillery pieces, cruise missiles, fighter jets, and time—time for training and getting ready for the next large-scale counteroffensive

France has been a cautious partner to Ukraine. 

To be sure, France has provided important security assistance, notably, SCALP-EG cruise missiles, AMX-10 RC tank killers, and Caesar 155mm self-propelled howitzers. France has also been helping with the training of the Ukrainian military, providing basic and more advanced courses. Moreover, Paris has been helping Kyiv boost its domestic weapons and munitions production.

But Paris has done little compared to its own capabilities and also compared to what other members of NATO and the European Union have been doing. Leaving the United States aside, Germany, Poland, and the United Kingdom have contributed vastly more to the Ukrainian defense than France. 

France Leclerc Tank

In addition, Paris has also been careful not to push Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin too hard. Macron even notoriously argued that Putin should have a viable exit option from the conflict worth of a great power. 

And yet, the announced package of military aid and talks about a potential transfer of Dassault Mirage 2000D multi-role fighter jets to Ukraine signifies a shift in France's political commitment to the victory of Ukraine. 

France Dassault Mirage 2000

But to be effective, that commitment to Ukraine’s survival—because it’s about surviving a brutal occupation—hinges on the continued support by the Western partners.

France has the potential to be an invaluable partner in Ukraine's victory. Its political leadership just needs to understand that and commit to the necessary systems.

About the Author  

Stavros Atlamazoglou is a seasoned defense journalist specializing in special operations and a Hellenic Army veteran (national service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ). He holds a BA from Johns Hopkins University and an MA from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). His work has been featured in Business Insider, Sandboxx, and SOFREP. Email the author: [email protected].