France to send long-range missiles to Ukraine – Macron

VILNIUS (Reuters): France will join Britain in supplying long-range SCALP missiles to Ukraine, a move that allows Ukrainian forces to hit Russian troops and supply dumps deep behind the front lines.

Speaking on arrival at a summit of the 31-member NATO alliance in Lithuania, French President Emmanuel Macron said he had decided to boost military aid to Ukraine to help its counteroffensive.

“I have decided to increase deliveries of weapons and equipment to enable the Ukrainians to have the capacity to strike deeply,” he said.

He declined to say how many missiles would be sent. A French diplomatic source said they were talking about 50 SCALP missiles being sent. A second source aware of the move said some of the missiles had already been delivered to Ukraine.

Ukraine has been asking for months for longer-range missiles but the United States, its main supplier, has yet to agree to supply them.

Britain said in May it was supplying the Franco-British missile, produced by MBDA, that it calls the Storm Shadow. The French version, known as SCALP, has a range of about 250 km (155 miles).

Macron said the delivery would adhere to France’s policy of assisting Ukraine to defend its territory, implying that Paris had received assurances from Kyiv that the missiles would not be fired into Russia.