Macron is embarking on a second term with the intent of keeping France at forefront of international efforts in Ukraine to force Putin to change his course. He has approved the delivery to Kyiv of modern artillery pieces that could help to stem Russia’s new offensive.
The truck-mounted Caesar guns can fire six rounds per minute for 40 km (25 miles) or more. This will enable Ukrainian troops to pound Russian troops far away, and then move on to pound them again. They are a significant step in France's support for President Volodymyr Zilenskyy's government and have been used to great effect in fighting Islamic State forces in Iraq.
Another remarkable move by Macron is to speak openly about guns, lifting the veil of secrecy that he had placed over French military aid. Both the delivery and the publicity indicate that Macron is taking a more aggressive line with Putin in his dealings -- he's engaging in less brinksmanship and talking less.
"Initially, we were a little shy to show what was being offered," explained retired Gen. Dominique Trinquand. He is a former head France's military mission at United Nations. We have been testing the reaction week after week by increasing our efforts."
Macron was at the end of his presidential reelection campaign when he mentioned the Caesar cannons during an April 21 interview with newspaper Ouest France. Although he also mentioned Milan anti tank missiles, those supplies were already reported.
Macron did not give any numbers. Unidentified French sources claim that 12 Caesars will be drawn from France's arsenal, and that 40 Ukrainian artillery troops were arriving at , a military base to the south.
Macron stated that his "red line" was not to enter into direct conflict with Russia. However, "we must offer maximum assistance to the Ukrainians within this limit."
"We are delivering consequential equipment," he said. "We must continue on this path."
His armed forces minister stated that thousands of shells would also be included in the delivery. Sunil Nair, an analyst specializing in artillery systems and defense publication Janes, stated that the cannons can be used separately or as part of a single battery.
He said, "It does give firepower, there is no doubt about that." It's all about how and where they use it.
Macron was open to dialogue with Putin before and after Russia's February 24 invasion. But the horrors that Ukrainian troops discovered as they retook command of villages close to Kyiv after Russian soldiers withdrew gave Macron cause for concern. Last week, his office stated that the two leaders hadn't spoken since March 29,
Macron said that he will eventually need to pick up his phone again, because not talking with Putin will allow leaders from China, India, and Turkey to lead the effort to reach peace.
Macron stated last week that "We will have to prepare a ceasefire at some point, and Europe must be around the table."
French weapons will continue to speak -- in the hope of increasing the pressure on Putin.
Francois Heisbourg, a French analyst specializing in defense security issues at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, stated that "the best way to have success talks is to have Ukrainians throwing back Russian invasion."
Caesars will let their crews go on a hunt for Russian artillery pieces that are being used in eastern Ukraine to indiscriminately target civilian targets.
Heisbourg stated that "the Americans, the Poles, the Slovaks, the Belgians, the French and Canadians all send heavy artillery to Ukraine,"
"This is a huge improvement in the situation of Ukraine during the new phase."