France has not yet decided on the transfer of Leclerc main battle tanks to Ukraine, French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna said during her visit to Odesa on Jan. 26, Ukrainian online newspaper Yevropeiska Pravda reported.
France's stance contrasts with those of the U.K., Germany and the U.S., which have already approved sending Challenger, Leopard and Abrams main battle tanks to Ukraine, respectively. Unlike Germany, which has increased its military aid for Ukraine under pressure from allies and media, the French government has not been criticized so much despite sometimes taking a stance similar to Germany.
Colonna also said that additional air defense systems remain a priority for Ukraine. She added that France would "respond to this request" for air defense.
On Jan. 22, French President Emmanuel Macron said he does not rule out supplying French-made Leclerc main battle tanks to Ukraine.
Macron said a decision on transferring Leclerc tanks to Ukraine would be made in the coming days and weeks but should be agreed upon with other allies, including Germany.
On Jan. 25, Germany confirmed that it would send 14 Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine after months of delay and allow other countries to send their Leopards to Kyiv.
German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said on Jan. 26 that Leopard 2 tanks promised for Ukraine by Germany will arrive in the country at the end of March or the start of April.
Meanwhile, Poland may deliver its Leopard tanks "within a few weeks," according to Polish Deputy Defense Minister Wojciech Skurkiewicz.
Canada will send four Leopard 2 main battle tanks to Ukraine "in the coming weeks," the country’s Defense Minister Anita Anand announced on Jan. 26.
Compared with Soviet tanks, which Ukraine and Russia currently use on the battlefield, the mobility and firepower of Western equipment could help Ukraine launch more counteroffensive operations.