Sebastien Lecornu, the French armed forces minister, announced in a statement on January 13 that Paris hopes to supply ‘AMX 10-RC light combat tanks’ to Ukraine within the next two months.
The statement included a summary of the French minister’s phone call with his Ukrainian counterpart, Oleksii Reznikov, on January 12. During the call between the ministers, Paris reaffirmed its overall support for Ukraine.
“The [French and Ukrainian defense] ministers have agreed that the delivery of AMX-10 RC tanks will be within two months,” the ministry said.
The French decision to provide AMX-10 RC to the Ukrainian armed forces was welcomed by the Ukrainian defense minister, who also praised France for its continued support.
In a tweet, Reznikov also lauded the high efficiency of Crotale air defense systems, which the French government supplies.
Reznikov tweeted, “Had a fruitful conversation with my friend Sebastien Lecornu. Appreciate France for its continued support of Ukraine & for the decision to provide AMX-10 RC to the Ukrainian Army. Noted the high efficiency of Crotale & applaud for the opportunity to strengthen the protection of the Ukrainian sky. Thank you for standing by Ukraine.”
Had a fruitful conversation with my 🇨🇵 friend @SebLecornu .Appreciate 🇨🇵 for continued support of 🇺🇦&for the decision to provide AMX-10 RC to #UArmy
Noted high efficiency of Crotale & applaud for the opportunity to strengthen the protection of 🇺🇦 sky.
Thank you for standing by 🇺🇦 pic.twitter.com/WywwUlrlYG
— Oleksii Reznikov (@oleksiireznikov) January 12, 2023
In early January, French President Emmanuel Macron confirmed plans to send an unspecified number of AMX-10 RC light tanks to the Ukrainian armed forces. “These are the first Western-made tanks that will be handed over to Ukraine,” said the French president.
However, many experts contended that the AMX-10C is an “armored vehicle” rather than a tank, which typically has large-caliber main guns, heavy-duty armor, and tracks.
That being said, the AMX-10RC has been dubbed a “light tank” by France and Ukraine.
But what distinguishes the AMX-10RC — and possibly explains why it’s been dubbed a “light tank” or “tank destroyer” — is that it’s armed with a 105mm cannon instead of the standard small cannon heavy machine gun.
The gun of the AMX-10RC is lethal enough to take down a tank at a close distance and would also be effective against troops and lighter armored vehicles. Its wheeled design allows it to maneuver quickly on roads and smooth terrain while requiring less upkeep than a heavy-tracked vehicle such as the 70-ton Abrams.
It is a 16-ton vehicle with a top speed of 50 mph that was developed in the early 1970s and was deployed for the first time by the French Army in 1979. The light armor of the AMX-10RC shields it from bullets and fragments from small arms but not from anti-tank missiles or heavy tank ammunition.
France used the vehicle in Operation Desert Storm and counterinsurgency operations in Africa and currently operates 245 AMX-10RCs. Morocco, Qatar, and Cameroon also deploy the AMX-10RC.
The French military is replacing this ‘light tank’ with the Jaguar, a 25-ton armored scout vehicle.
Russia Threatens To Strike France
Meanwhile, Russian propagandists called for an attack on France in reaction to President Emmanuel Macron’s pledge to send “light tanks”— AMX-10 RC—to Ukraine.
During a program on Russian state television, Vladimir Solovyov, a well-known propagandist and Putin loyalist, recently advocated for a preemptive strike rather than a counter-strike.
“Macron supplies the tanks, and we give them a preemptive strike against France as a party to the conflict,” Solovyov said.
The Russian Duma member and retired general, Andrey Gurulyov, declared that France would be considered a party to the conflict if it starts to “harm openly, fearing nothing.”
He added that Russia possesses enough weapons to obliterate France or Britain. Since Paris has consistently provided Ukraine with essential armaments, it is understood that Russia is miffed with France.
France has provided Ukraine with 18 Caesar units since the start of the Ukraine War until December, as well as a 155mm howitzer equipped on a six-wheel truck chassis that can fire rounds at ranges of more than 40 kilometers (25 miles).
In addition, Paris has sent armored personnel carriers, anti-tank missiles, and anti-aircraft missiles. France and Ukraine inked a security and defense grant deal in mid-October. The agreement is intended to assist Ukraine’s troops in strengthening their military capabilities against Russia, with an initial aid value of €100 million.
Sebastien Lecornu, the defense minister for France, said that Macron had committed to training up to 2,000 Ukrainian soldiers there. He also said that France had previously sent Ukraine 18 Caesar Howitzers and that negotiations to provide six more were in progress.