France sending heavy artillery to Ukraine: Macron
France is sending several heavy artillery pieces to Ukraine, President Emmanuel Macron said Friday, as growing numbers of Western nations contribute heavier arms to Kyiv following the Russian invasion.
"We are delivering significant equipment, from Milan (anti-tank missiles) to Caesar (self-propelled howitzers)," Macron told regional newspaper Ouest-France.
"I think we have to continue on this route. Always with the red line that we will not become parties to the conflict."
La France continue de soutenir l’Ukraine sur le plan militaire : le Président de la République a acté la livraison de plusieurs canons d'artillerie Caesar et de milliers d'obus. Nous sommes aux côtés du peuple ukrainien.— Florence Parly (@florence_parly) April 22, 2022
Defence Minister Florence Parly confirmed on Twitter that France would send "several Caesar artillery cannons and thousands of shells".
Built by partly state-owned arms maker Nexter, the Caesar is a 155mm howitzer mounted on a six-wheeled truck chassis, capable of firing shells at ranges of more than 40 kilometres (25 miles).
Macron's Elysee Palace office did not reveal how many missiles and howitzers France would provide when contacted by AFP, saying that it did not want to reveal "operational information".
But it added that the anti-tank missiles had already been delivered, while the howitzers would move "in the coming days".
Around 40 Ukrainian soldiers will be trained in France on the weapons' use from Saturday, the presidency said.
Ukrainian officials including President Volodymyr Zelensky have repeatedly implored European and NATO powers to provide heavier weapons, especially artillery, as Russia launches a fresh assault on its neighbour's east.