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France to deploy Rafale jets as Ukraine war intensifies

After Russia launched a war in Ukraine, smaller countries in the region have been on the edge about a possible expansion of the Russian offensive and are looking toward their Western allies for assistance.

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French Defense Minister Sebastien Lecornu said Tuesday that France will deploy tanks and armored vehicles with military units to countries on the eastern flank of Europe to strengthen its military presence in NATO.

Speaking to lawmakers, Lecornu said French President Emmanuel Macron took the decision to deploy armored vehicles and Leclerc-type tanks to Romania, taking into account the situation in NATO’s eastern flank and the severity of the conflict in Ukraine.

“In view of the situation on the eastern flank of NATO, in view of the violence of the fighting in Ukraine, in this war led by the Russian Federation, the President of the Republic has decided to raise our defensive posture on the eastern flank of Europe,” French Defence Minister Sebastien Lecornu told a hearing of the Senate Defence Committee.

Read more: After Russia strikes, Ukraine pledges to strengthen military

Lecornu added that France will also deploy Rafale warplanes to Lithuania and infantry units with an additional 100 soldiers to Estonia.

According to the ministry’s estimates, the French budgetary effort to strengthen Nato’s defensive posture in eastern Europe should cost between €600—700 million this year.

At the same time, Paris is more open about its efforts to help Kyiv defend itself, even if its room for maneuver remains limited, while some accuse it of not doing enough for Ukraine.

Emmanuel Macron announced on Friday the creation of a “special fund” of €100 million so that Ukraine can “buy directly from our manufacturers the equipment it needs most to support its war effort”.

After Russia launched a war in Ukraine, smaller countries in the region have been on the edge about a possible expansion of the Russian offensive and are looking toward their Western allies for assistance.

According to the Kiel Institute for the World economy, France is in 11th position for military support to Ukraine with €233 million of aid since the beginning of 2022, against €25 billion from the United States, €4 billion from the United Kingdom, €1.8 billion from Poland and €1.13 billion from Germany.

Read more: US reduces ammunition supplies as Ukraine war wastes arsenals

Courtesy: Anadolu Agency with additional input by GVS