France insists it’s no slacker on military aid to Ukraine – POLITICO

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“The cardinal principle is not to damage our capabilities. By supporting Ukraine, we have never stripped the army of any operational capacity,” a French armed forces ministry official told reporters Friday.

France’s list also doesn’t include weaponry for this year — more SCALP missiles, hundreds of bombs, 12 Caesars and 100 kamikaze drones are expected, and France signed in mid-February a €3 billion bilateral security deal with Ukraine.

In its own bilateral security deal with Ukraine signed last month, Germany promised a new €1.1 billion military support package.

Also not counted is Macron’s announcement that Paris would contribute to a Czech initiative to buy 800,000 artillery shells from outside the EU to help Ukraine — a significant shift in the country’s usual emphasis of investing in Europe’s military capabilities.

However, while countries including the Netherlands and Belgium have already announced contributions, Paris still has questions before signing a check to non-EU countries such as India or South Korea. It wants to know whether Prague is talking about actual off-the-shelf ammunition that can be delivered in weeks or rather about “production capacity,” in which case France would rather invest in European companies. Macron will travel to Prague on Tuesday.

The Kiel Institute stands by its figures, which are based on public announcements cross-referenced with publicly available information on national stocks. 

Speaking at the Munich Security Conference last month, Christoph Trebesch, who runs work on the think tank’s database covering military, financial and humanitarian aid to Ukraine, said the team missed just nine Caesar artillery platforms in its earlier analysis of donations.

Laura Kayali and Clea Caulcutt reported from Paris. Joshua Posaner reported from Berlin.  

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