Three-year hold-up on French military aid to Ukraine and Armenia sparks doubts
    Empty promises?

    ANALYTICS  04 March 2024 - 16:13

    The French Ministry of Armed Forces has published on its website a list of military aid provided to Ukraine during the two years of war.

    I would note at once that it would be better if they did not brag about this list, because in reality it has every reason to be called disgraceful and clearly does not correspond to the ambitions of Macron's France, which aspires to play the role of the most important country in Europe. But let us go through the figures and the nomenclature of the French military aid transferred to Ukraine.

    The list includes 50 items, including defence equipment, communications equipment, and weapons of various types, including long-range missiles, air defence systems and drones. The figures are as of 31 December 2023, but little has changed since then. So, it follows from the document that among the air defence systems as of the end of 2023, France supplied Ukraine with two Crotale NG units, six Mistral MANPADS and one SAMP/T air defence system. In addition, the Ukrainian Armed Forces received the GM200 air defence radar.

    SCALP cruise missiles (analogue of British Storm Shadow missiles) are among the means of defeat, their number was not disclosed. Kiev also received 30 Caesar self-propelled artillery systems, six TRF1 howitzers, four multiple rocket launchers, 38 AMX10 RC light wheeled tanks and 250 armoured vehicles with weapons, 120 off-road vehicles and six trucks. Small arms include 615 machine guns of various calibres, as well as 1,000 Famas and 20 sniper rifles. And this, I should emphasise in particular, for two years of a full-scale Russian-Ukrainian war, the outcome of which, according to the general opinion of politicians and political analysts from various countries of the world, decides the fate not only of Europe but also of the entire world order.

    In fact, this is not even aid, but a profanation. In the opinion of the military experts we interviewed, the only thing that can be considered more or less serious from the weapons transferred to Ukraine from France is 30 self-propelled Caesar artillery units. But their number is minuscule. This is only two divisions and not even an artillery brigade. In short, France could have given Ukraine much more artillery and not just a miserable 1,000 rifles, but much more small arms and ammunition.

    In addition, France has provided Ukraine with virtually no air defence equipment, which is of paramount need. We see how rocket and drone attacks on peaceful Ukrainian cities continue. The tragedy in Odessa, in which many children were killed, is further proof of this. But when assessing France's military assistance to Ukraine, we should also remember how indecisive official Paris was at the beginning of the Russian-Ukrainian war. They had a long discussion about how to behave in the new conditions. As the Ukrainian media reported, this could be due to the French leadership's confidence that Ukraine would quickly capitulate.

    In any case, it is impossible to compare the actual military assistance to Ukraine from France and Germany - these two countries have historically and traditionally competed for the title of European political leader. Practice has shown that the FRG does more than talk. Whereas France shakes the air more than it acts. This is eloquently illustrated by the figures. Germany has provided or pledged more than €17 billion in aid to Ukraine, while France has provided or pledged only €640 million.

    I would also like to cite data from the Kiel Institute for the World Economy Ukraine Support Tracker. According to them, despite the fact that it was the United States that transferred the most weapons to Ukraine, and we are talking about $44 billion worth of aid, the United States spent 0.2 per cent of the country's GDP on aid to Ukraine. At the same time, the Baltic States, although being among the smallest members of the EU and NATO in terms of the size of their economies, provided the most assistance to Ukraine as a percentage of GDP: Latvia - ~0.9 per cent of the country's GDP, Lithuania - ~1.0 per cent, Estonia - ~1.13 per cent.

    As we can see, France is not even close to being on the list of leaders in providing military assistance to Ukraine. This makes it ironic to react to the statements by representatives of official Paris and Yerevan regarding the scope and prospects of Armenian-French military cooperation. Let me remind you that the report of the French Senate, published as part of the financial bill for 2024, stated that France had sent 24 Arquus MK3 armoured front-line vehicles (VAB), known as Bastion, to Armenia, to be "joined by 26 other vehicles of the same type, which are currently in production".

    The senators' report also stated that discussions are ongoing on the supply of Mistral 3 surface-to-air missile systems to Armenia. And French Defence Minister Sebastien Lecornu, who recently visited Armenia, promised to increase its defence potential. According to Lecornu, it is about ground-to-air defence. But these are just promises. The example of Ukraine shows how France is actually helping its allies.

    And we should not forget that during the 44-day war, the Azerbaijani army destroyed and took Armenian weapons worth more than $5 billion as trophies. And during the one-day anti-terrorist operation that took place last September in the Karabakh region, Armenian military equipment and weapons worth $1.5 billion were destroyed and taken as trophies. These are the figures quoted by the former Armenian Deputy Defence Minister Artak Zakaryan. And they eloquently testify to the fact that the Armenian army has suffered irreparable damage. So all the speeches being made in Yerevan and Paris are mere shaking of the air.


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