buring a visit to the German-French arms holding company KNDS in Versailles-Satory on Tuesday, American Secretary of State Antony Blinken praised Europe's efforts to increase military aid to Ukraine. The cooperation is a good example of functioning “burden sharing” between America and Europe, said Blinken. In front of a Caesar howitzer, he praised France's commitment to increased arms production.

The French company Nexter, which has formed the KNDS holding company since merging with the German defense company Krauss-Maffei Wegmann in 2015, is considered exemplary because it has halved the production times for Caesar-type howitzers. In the future it will produce six howitzers a month. In 2022 there were two per month. French Defense Minister Sébastien Lecornu announced in Versailles that production would be ramped up to twelve Caesar howitzers per month.

Companies should build up stocks for ammunition production

Nexter also produces grenades of the NATO standard caliber 155 millimeters, which are urgently needed on the front in Ukraine. France and America jointly lead the so-called artillery coalition in support of Ukraine. Blinken said the Caesar howitzers had become a “symbol” of the coalition. Russia has been weakened and NATO has been strengthened by two new members. “But we are at a critical moment for Ukraine,” Blinken said. This is precisely why it is important that Europeans make their contribution to supporting Ukraine.

He once again appealed to the American Congress to release arms aid. Lecornu has increased the pressure on the French defense industry and its suppliers. “I demand that stocks be created for the production of ammunition,” he told La Tribune newspaper over the weekend. If the companies stop producing, he would consider confiscation. The decrees on the obligation to stockpile, the setting of priorities and requisitions were published in the official gazette on Good Friday.

The AMX-10 light reconnaissance tanks were developed in Versailles-Satory in the early 1970s, “hundreds” of which are to be delivered to Ukraine by the beginning of 2025, as Lecornu announced. “To hold such a large front line, the Ukrainian army needs our front-line armored vehicles: they are absolutely crucial for troop mobility and are among the demands of Ukrainians,” Lecornu said. In Versailles he announced further deliveries of the Aster air defense missiles to Kiev.

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