France promises Ukraine armored vehicles as the U.S. weighs doing the same.

France has promised to send armored fighting vehicles to Ukraine and President Biden said the United States is weighing the supply of Bradley fighting vehicles, signs that Ukraine’s allies are expanding support for Kyiv’s war effort against Russia.

President Emmanuel Macron pledged to provide AMX-10 RC armored vehicles in a phone call with President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine, the French presidency said.

Macron’s office did not specify how many of the vehicles would be delivered or when. The vehicles, which have a cannon like a tank but move on tires instead of tracks, are generally used for armed reconnaissance.

Also on Wednesday, Mr. Biden confirmed, in response to a reporter’s question, that the United States was considering sending Bradley vehicles, which would expand the range of weapons to be provided to Ukraine. Last month, it agreed to supply Kyiv with America’s most advanced ground-based air defense system, the Patriot.

The Ukrainians have asked their allies for more advanced weapons they say will be critical to their fight against Russia, some of which the United States or Europe have been reluctant to provide for fear of escalation. Even so, the types of weapons that the allies have been willing to send to Ukraine have expanded as the war dragged on and Russian aggression intensified.

Mr. Zelensky reiterated his call for more advanced weapons in his late-night speech on Wednesday.

“We must end the Russian aggression exactly this year and not postpone any defensive capabilities that can hasten the defeat of the terrorist state,” he said. “Modern Western armored vehicles, Western-type tanks are just one of these key capabilities.”

Zelensky thanked Macron on Twitter for the pledge, saying the two leaders also agreed to “further cooperation to significantly strengthen Ukrainian air defense and other defense capabilities.”

“Thanks my friend!” Mr. Zelensky said in a Twitter post after the call “Your leadership brings our victory closer”.

France has already delivered armored personnel carriers to Ukraine, as well as rocket launchers, air defense missile systems, anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles, and at least 18 Caesar howitzers.

Several of Ukraine’s allies have promised or delivered armored personnel carriers or armored vehicles with offensive capabilities, including German Y British Soviet-designed anti-aircraft vehicles and tanks from Eastern European countries such as Poland.

But Ukraine is also seeking heavier combat vehicles that its allies have been hesitant to provide. Germany, for example, is still embroiled in the debate over whether to send Leopard 2 main battle tanks.

Still, the AMX-10 RC, which the French presidency says was the first “Western-design” armored vehicle promised to Ukraine, could provide new capabilities to Ukrainian forces fighting the Russian military.

The AMX-10 RC is crewed by four people and is a “powerfully armed armored reconnaissance vehicle with very good road and cross-country mobility” that is also “protected against light infantry weapons”, according to the French Army. website.

Manufactured by Nexter, a French company, the AMX-10 RC weighs 20 tons, moves on six wheels (not tracks), and is equipped with a 105mm cannon and two 7.62mm machine guns. The French Army has been using the vehicles since the 1980s, but began replacing them with a newer model in 2020.

In the past, Macron has been criticized by some allies, especially in Eastern Europe, for his comments about including Russia in a new “stability order” in Europe and for his insistence on not antagonizing Russia and keeping the channels open. diplomats with President Vladimir. V.Putin. But Macron has also expressed unequivocal support for Ukraine’s victory in the war.

kim victoria contributed reporting.