France’s defense minister visited Ukraine on Wednesday to discuss ramping up French military support for the war effort against Russia, including ground-to-air defense from Russian missile attacks.
France has already provided weaponry like the Caesar howitzer artillery system and created a fund of 200 million euros (around $210 million) for Ukraine to buy equipment directly from French manufacturers.
French Defense Minister Sebastien Lecornu told reporters on Wednesday that France would help with maintenance of weapons already allocated and that the fund could be used to purchase more arms like Mistral missiles to guard against drone strikes.
“France has chosen several ways to help Ukraine,” Lecornu said during his first visit to the country since President Vladimir Putin invaded in February.
“The maintenance of what has already been given to Ukraine is just as important as the new equipment.”
His meetings on Wednesday with his Ukrainian counterpart, Oleksiy Reznikov, and President Volodymyr Zelensky covered “the needs of the Ukrainian army for the weeks to come,” he said.
Russian strikes on Ukraine’s infrastructure have in recent weeks resulted in blackouts affecting millions.
Reznikov said Ukraine’s top priority was aerial defense and officials were also keen to acquire more artillery systems and munitions.
Earlier on Wednesday, Lecornu laid a wreath at a memorial in Kyiv for fighters killed in combat since 2014.