French politicians and generals weigh up plans to send Leclerc tanks to Ukraine

AFP/ JEAN-CHRISTOPHE VERHAEGEN

Top French politicians and military chiefs were on Wednesday night thrashing out proposals over whether to send the country's Leclerc tanks to Ukraine.

The 56-tonne French machines can reach speeds of up to 70kmh per hour and are comparable to the German-made Leopard tanks, which Berlin agreed to send to Kyiv on Wednesday.

However, the Leclercs would pose different maintenance and logistical challenges.

"Regarding the Leclerc tanks, we are continuing our analysis with the armed forces ministry," Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne told parliament on Wednesday.

"The issue of assistance for Ukraine is not limited to this or that weapon."

France has provided its Caesar artillery system, Crotale air defence system and has offered the AMX-10 RC light tank among other weapons.

Following Germany's decision and the United States gearing up to send around 30 M1 Abrams tanks, attention is expected to turn on France.

However, it is understood military analysts question whether the Leclercs would be helpful at a time when Ukrainian forces are having to train on a variety of complex western weapons.

"There's no political objection," a French defence ministry source told the news agency AFP.

"We are just wondering whether the Leclerc would be a poisoned chalice. The aim is to be useful and effective."

France has around 200 Leclercs, which were manufactured by the Nexter System defence group.

Capabilities

Germany had said the Leopards would not be sent unless the US sends its Abrams.


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