What military aid can France objectively provide to Ukraine?

Thursday, November 30, 2023

What military aid can France objectively provide to Ukraine?

Since the start of Russian aggression against Ukraine, France has supported Kyiv in the political, economic and military domains. However, for several months, this military aid has been regularly contested, whether in France but also in Europe, being judged by its detractors as insufficient, particularly in relation to the aid granted by other European countries. It is true that Paris has remained discreet about the aid granted, and in several areas, largely behind other European nations, including countries much less rich than France can be. On several occasions, columns were published in the major national dailies, here to call for the delivery of Leclerc tanks, there to increase military aid to €4 billion, relying precisely on this apparent weakness of French assistance to the 'Ukraine. Beyond these appeals essentially built on an emotional response to the Ukrainian distress, it is necessary to define both the objectives targeted by this support, but also the constraints which apply to it, so as to bring about the emergence of a doctrine which can objectively frame this military aid in an optimized manner.

Why should France help Ukraine militarily?

If at first glance, French support for Ukraine seems conditioned by humanitarian and international law considerations, it turns out that France, like its neighbors, has numerous perfectly objective reasons for actively supporting Kyiv militarily, in order to to enable a Ukrainian victory against the Russian armies.

Firstly, even if it is rarely discussed, it is a question of undermining Moscow's military tools as much as possible, and thus reducing over time its capacity to cause harm in Europe but also in the Middle East, in the Caucasus and in Africa, that is to say all the theaters of friction with the regular or non-regular forces in the service of the Kremlin. This objective only appeared when it became clear that the Ukrainian armies were indeed capable of resisting the Russian military steamroller, but also of inflicting severe losses on it. And in fact, it seems that the Russian armies have suffered terrible attrition since the start of the conflict, with between 30,000 and 60,000 killed, at least as many wounded, and the loss of a very large number of equipment, including 1,200 tanks. documented, i.e. half of the Russian fleet before this war. In fact, supporting Ukraine militarily allows in a direct and significant way to severely erode Russian military tools, and according to the current dynamic, it is more than likely that the country's armies and defense industry will have to do very significant efforts for 10 to 15 years, if only to hope to return to the levels which they were at before the start of the conflict, a period during which the Russian threat will be considerably reduced, even as all European countries develop their armies and their resilience capabilities.

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since the start of the conflict, the Russian armies have lost half of their fleet of modern heavy tanks, lastingly undermining their conventional operational capabilities

On the other hand, Ukrainian military successes against one of the most powerful armies on the planet, if they rely above all on the courage, determination and intelligence of Ukrainian soldiers, will only have been possible 'with the help of Westerners, and the materials provided. In fact, this Western support carries two messages that are perfectly audible on the international scene, and whose influence will be crucial in the evolution of world geopolitics: the determination and unity of Western capitals, including in the face of the induced effects of more unpleasant, particularly from an economic point of view, as well as the effectiveness of Western military equipment. Because if the heroes of this war are the Ukrainian soldiers, the symbols, for their part, have often been weapons transmitted to Ukraine, as was the case with the Javelin and MLAW anti-tank missiles and the TB2 Bayraktar drone during the offensive on Kyiv and Kharkiv, Caesar, Himars and Pzh2000 artillery systems during the autumn counter-offensive, and anti-aircraft systems like the IRIS-T SLM and NASAMS in the face of the blitz.

Each time, the arrival of this equipment delivered by the United States, Great Britain, France, Germany and many others, played a decisive role on the ground. This Western demonstration of force, both through the solidity of the political bloc and through the performance of its weapons systems, will undoubtedly play a moderating role in the face of the ambitions of many potentates around the world in the years to come, including those who could be tempted by nuclear adventurism. This change in image of the Western bloc, and therefore of France, is all the more critical as it had largely suffered due to the American and British adventure in Iraq, but also the pitiful management of the Syrian and Libyan crises. , and the disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan.

What constraints apply to French military aid to Ukraine?

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Fabrice Wolf
Fabrice Wolfhttps://meta-defense.fr/fabrice-wolf/
A former French naval aeronautics pilot, Fabrice is the editor and main author of the Meta-defense.fr site. His areas of expertise are military aeronautics, defense economics, air and submarine warfare, and Akita inu.

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