US military photo by Staff Sgt. Charles Porter
- The US, Germany, and France are sending Ukraine Western-made armored vehicles for the first time.
- Ukrainian forces will be trained by the US and Germany on how to use their respective systems.
- The move would give Ukraine a significant ground combat capability boost for offensive operations.
Western-made armored vehicles from the US, Germany, and France will be heading to Ukraine for the first time since Russia started a deadly and destructive war with its neighbor 10 months ago, and they are expected to give Kyiv a significant firepower and ground combat capability boost.
The White House announced in a joint press statement on Thursday that the US intends to provide Kyiv with Bradley infantry fighting vehicles, while Germany plans to send Marder infantry fighting vehicles.
Ukrainian forces will be trained by both countries on how to use their respective systems, which are capable of carrying troops into battle and also providing them with fire support.
A Marder armored vehicle
Klaus-Dietmar Gabbert/picture alliance via Getty Images
President Joe Biden and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz made the decision public after speaking on the phone Thursday, when the two leaders discussed military, diplomatic, humanitarian, and financial support for Ukraine. Earlier, both countries had hinted that Western armored vehicles could be included among future military aid.
The joint press statement from the US and Germany came just one day after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said he spoke with French President Emmanuel Macron, who decided to “transfer light tanks and Bastion APCs” to Kyiv. Zelenskyy did not specify which light vehicles he was referring to, though French politician Benjamin Haddad later confirmed that they are AMX-10 RC armored fighting vehicles.
The AMX-10 RC is French-made armored combat and reconnaissance vehicle designed in 1970 and has seen decades of service in places like western Africa, the Middle East, and Afghanistan. The Bastion is a more modern French armored personnel carrier.
An AMX-10RC armored vehicle during a training exercise.
US Marine Corps
“Agreed with [Emmanuel Macron] on further cooperation to significantly strengthen [Ukrainian] air defense and other defense capabilities,” Zelenskyy said. “We also agreed to work on the implementation of #PeaceFormula. Thank you friend! Your leadership brings our victory closer.”
Ukraine’s defense ministry said on Thursday, before the announcement from the US and Germany, that Macron’s decision will move Ukraine closer to victory, “especially when the AMX-10 RCs are joined by their American and, we believe, German peers.”
Ukraine has repeatedly requested tanks and other armored vehicles from Western countries. Although the infantry fighting vehicles won’t necessarily deliver the same effects as heavy tanks, they still provide valuable transport and mobile firepower capabilities for Ukrainian offensive operations.
The news that France, Germany, and the US plan to send armored vehicles comes ahead of the anticipated start of a 36-hour-long ceasefire that was announced earlier on Thursday by Russian President Vladimir Putin for the upcoming Orthodox Christmas holiday. If it is implemented, the ceasefire would be the first major truce of the war, but Kyiv has not been very receptive of the proposal.
“After 10 months of genocide, after hundreds of destroyed Ukrainian churches, isn’t it too late for the kremlin to think of God?” the Ukrainian defense ministry said on social media.