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Canada and France follow United States and Germany in pledging tank supplies for Ukraine

This photograph taken on January 26, 2023, shows a church in Bakhmut, Donetsk region, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Anatolii Stepanov / AFP
This photograph taken on January 26, 2023, shows a church in Bakhmut, Donetsk region, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Anatolii Stepanov / AFP Copyright Anatolii Stepanov / AFP
Copyright Anatolii Stepanov / AFP
By Mario Bowden with AFP, AP
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The announcement comes one day after the United States and Germany both announced they are sending battle tanks to Ukraine, the first stage of a coordinated effort by the West to provide dozens of the heavy weapons to help Kyiv as Russia's invasion enters its 12th month.

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France and Canada will supply tanks to Ukraine amid sustained Russian attacks. The decision by the two countries follows the example of the United States and Germany, who on Wednesday announced they would supply Ukraine with dozens of heavy weapons.

Canada’s defence minister Anita Anand said on Thursday it would be supplying an additional four Leopard 2 tanks to add to Germany’s 14. She says that this donation “combined with the contributions of allies and partners, will significantly help the armed forces of Ukraine as they fight heroically to defend their nation's freedom and sovereignty”.

Anand added that Canadian troops will also be sent to assist Ukrainian soldiers and train them with the skills needed to operate the armoured vehicles.

France’s foreign minister Catherine Colonna reinforced that France would also be sending tank support.

"As you know, we have already delivered artillery, ammunition and armoured vehicles, and announced at the very beginning of January that France will supply AMX-10 tanks."

Colonna was speaking at a joint press conference with her Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba in the port city of Odesa. With Russian strikes ongoing in the town and surrounding area, the pair held talks from a bunker.

Her visit also marked the decision by the UN cultural body to enlist Odesa as an endangered UNESCO world heritage site.

Zelenskyy’s ‘tank coalition’

In his evening address, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy thanked the Canadian government.

He also said Russian aggression can only be stopped with 'adequate weapons'. 

"The terrorist state will not understand anything else. [We need] weapons on the battlefield. Weapons that protect our skies," Zelenskyy said. 

His comments follow fresh Russian missile and drone attacks on Thursday. The strikes, which hit the capital Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities, killed at least 11 people and damaged several buildings and energy facilities across the country.

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