France’s victorious Macron boosts weapons, stakes in Ukraine

Apr 25, 2022, 11:31 AM | Updated: 11:47 pm

FILE - A Ukrainian serviceman walks next to a fighting vehicle, outside Kyiv, Ukraine, Saturday, Ap...

FILE - A Ukrainian serviceman walks next to a fighting vehicle, outside Kyiv, Ukraine, Saturday, April 2, 2022. As he begins a second term as France's president, Emmanuel Macron has given the green light for the delivery of artillery pieces to Ukraine. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda, File)

(AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda, File)

              FILE - French President Emmanuel Macron, left, winks as he shakes hands with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy after a joint news conference following their talks in Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2022. As he begins a second term as France's president, Emmanuel Macron has given the green light for the delivery of artillery pieces to Ukraine. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky, File)
              FILE - A Ukrainian serviceman walks next to a fighting vehicle, outside Kyiv, Ukraine, Saturday, April 2, 2022. As he begins a second term as France's president, Emmanuel Macron has given the green light for the delivery of artillery pieces to Ukraine. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda, File)

PARIS (AP) — When Vladimir Putin congratulated Emmanuel Macron on his re-election as France’s president and wished him “success in your activities,” the Russian leader probably was being more polite than sincere.

As he embarks on a second term, with the intention of keeping France at the forefront of international efforts to force Putin to change course in Ukraine, Macron has given a green light for the delivery of modern artillery pieces to Kyiv that could help stem Russia’s new offensive in the east of the country.

Firing six rounds per minute over 40 kilometers (25 miles) or more, the truck-mounted Caesar cannons will allow Ukrainian crews to pound Russian troops from afar, then move and pound them again. Used to great effect against Islamic State forces in Iraq and in other conflicts, they represent a step up in France’s assistance to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s government.

In another remarkable move, Macron is talking openly about the guns, lifting a veil of secrecy he’d thrown over French military aid. The delivery and the publicity together signal a tougher line from Macron in his dealings with Putin — talking less and engaging more in brinksmanship with the Kremlin.

“Initially, we were a bit shy to show what was being provided,” said retired Gen. Dominique Trinquand, a former head of France’s military mission at the United Nations. But “we have been escalating week after week, testing the reaction.”

Macron was in the closing stages of his presidential re-election campaign when he name-dropped the Caesar cannons in an April 21 interview with the newspaper Ouest-France. He also mentioned Milan anti-tank missiles, although those supplies had already been reported.

Macron didn’t give numbers. Citing unidentified French sources, Ouest-France said 12 Caesars will be drawn from the French arsenal and that 40 Ukrainian artillery soldiers were arriving for training at a military base in the south of France.

Macron said his “red line” remains not entering into direct conflict with Russia, but within that limit, “we must provide maximum help to the Ukrainians.”

“We are delivering consequential equipment,” he said. “We need to continue down this path.”

His armed forces minister tweeted that thousands of shells would also be part of the delivery. Sunil Nair, an analyst who specializes in artillery systems for the defense publication Janes, said the cannons could be used independently of each other or together as a battery.

“It does give you firepower, no doubt about it,” he said. “It’s a question of how they use it and where they use it.”

Before and after Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion, Macron had kept an open line with Putin. But the horrors discovered by Ukrainian troops as they retook control of villages near Kyiv once Russian soldiers withdrew gave Macron pause. His office said last week that the two leaders haven’t spoken since March 29.

Macron says that, eventually, he’ll need to pick up the phone again — because not talking to Putin will allow the leaders of China, India and Turkey to take the lead in trying to negotiate the peace, whenever that time comes.

“We’ll have to prepare a cease-fire at some stage, and Europe will have to be around the table,” Macron said last week.

In the meantime, French weapons will do some of the talking — in hopes of adding to the pressure on Putin.

“The best way to have successful talks is to have successful Ukrainians throwing back the Russian invasion,” said François Heisbourg, a French analyst on defense and security questions at the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

The Caesars will allow their crews to go hunting for Russian artillery pieces being used in eastern Ukraine that are indiscriminately pummeling civilian targets.

“The Americans and the Poles and the Slovaks and the Belgians and the French and the Canadians are all sending heavy artillery to the Ukrainians,” Heisbourg said.

“That’s a really, really big improvement to the situation of Ukraine in the new phase of the war.”


Associated Press writers Sylvie Corbet and Angela Charlton contributed.


Follow the AP’s coverage of the war at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine and of the French election at https://apnews.com/hub/french-election-2022

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Water spills over the Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River, which runs along the Washington and Ore...

Associated Press

Biden deal with tribes promises $200M for Columbia River salmon reintroduction

The Biden administration has pledged over $200 million toward reintroducing salmon in the Upper Columbia River Basin in an agreement with tribes that includes a stay on litigation for 20 years.

19 hours ago

FILE - Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., arrives for a vote on Capitol Hill, Sept. 6, 2023 in Washington. ...

Associated Press

Sen. Menendez, wife indicted on bribe charges as probe finds $100,000 in gold bars, prosecutors say

U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey and his wife have been indicted on charges of bribery.

23 hours ago

A man holds an iPhone next to an Amazon Echo, center, and a Google Home, right, in New York on June...

Associated Press

Amazon unveils a ‘smarter and more conversational’ Alexa amid AI race among tech companies

Amazon has unveiled a slew of gadgets and an update to its popular voice assistant Alexa, infusing it with more generative AI features to better compete with other tech companies who’ve rolled out flashy chatbots.

1 day ago


David Bauder, The Associated Press

Rupert Murdoch, whose creation of Fox News made him a force in American politics, is stepping down

Murdoch inherited a newspaper in Adelaide, Australia, from his father in 1952 and eventually built a news and entertainment enterprise.

2 days ago

FILE - United Auto Workers members walk a picket line during a strike at the Ford Motor Company Mic...

Associated Press

United Auto Workers threaten to expand targeted strike if there is no substantive progress by Friday

The United Auto Workers union is stepping up pressure on Detroit’s Big Three by threatening to expand its strike unless it sees major progress in contract negotiations by Friday.

3 days ago

FILE - The Amazon Prime logo appears on the side of a delivery van as it departs an Amazon Warehous...

Associated Press

Amazon plans to hire 250,000 workers for holiday season

Amazon said on Tuesday that it will hire 250,000 full- and part-time workers for the holiday season, a 67% jump compared to last year.

4 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Swedish Cyberknife...

September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

September is a busy month on the sports calendar and also holds a very special designation: Prostate Cancer Awareness Month.

Ziply Fiber...

Dan Miller

The truth about Gigs, Gs and other internet marketing jargon

If you’re confused by internet technologies and marketing jargon, you’re not alone. Here's how you can make an informed decision.

Education families...

Education that meets the needs of students, families

Washington Virtual Academies (WAVA) is a program of Omak School District that is a full-time online public school for students in grades K-12.

Emergency preparedness...

Emergency planning for the worst-case scenario

What would you do if you woke up in the middle of the night and heard an intruder in your kitchen? West Coast Armory North can help.

Innovative Education...

The Power of an Innovative Education

Parents and students in Washington state have the power to reimagine the K-12 educational experience through Insight School of Washington.

Medicare fraud...

If you’re on Medicare, you can help stop fraud!

Fraud costs Medicare an estimated $60 billion each year and ultimately raises the cost of health care for everyone.

France’s victorious Macron boosts weapons, stakes in Ukraine