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Lecornu: Air bombs more useful for Ukraine than fighter jets

by Rachel Amran March 1, 2024 2:01 AM 2 min read
French Minister of the Armed Forces Sebastien Lecornu in Paris on Feb. 27, 2024. Thomas SAMSON / POOL / AFP)
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France will focus on providing Ukraine with air bombs and not Mirage fighters, French Minister of the Armed Forces Sebastien Lecornu reportedly said at a meeting of the country's Defense Committee of the National Assembly on Feb. 26.

According to the French security outlet Zone Militaire, Lecornu highlighted that France needs to pay attention to providing Ukraine with "useful" and "effective" military assistance for Ukrainian forces.

The Defense Minister reminded lawmakers that Paris is adapting air bombs, such as the precision-guided A2SM, to Soviet-origin aircraft that the Ukrainian military already possesses instead of sending Mirage fighters. Lecornu already announced earlier this year that France would supply Ukraine with 50 A2SM missiles per month until the end of the year.

The delivery of Mirage 2000D fighters, Lecornu stated, would instead present complicated challenges that could deter the effectiveness of French military support to Ukraine.

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The Mirage 2000D is a French fighter jet manufactured by the French military and defense company, Dassault Aviation. Ukraine has consistently appealed to Western allies to supply aircraft support in the form of fighter jets, including Dassault fighters and F-16s. Zelensky has previously said that Ukraine's allies need to "move past their taboo" on supplying aircraft to Ukraine.

Despite Lecornu's comments about the inefficiencies of providing Mirage fighters, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced at a press conference earlier this week that Ukraine is "talking about fighter jets with France."

“Are we completely closed to the question of the Mirage?" Lecornu said this week. "The president has always said: 'There is no taboo'... The fifty A2SM bombs, every month and now compatible with Soviet-class aircraft [are a] 'game changer.'.Afterwards, we have discussions about aviation."

Critics argue that allies’ reluctance to supply F-16 and Dassault fighter jets and long-range ATACMS missiles to Ukraine would likely prolong Russia’s war of aggression and result in thousands of deaths.

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