Ukraine hails French gift of radar as 'cherry on the cake'

LIMOURS, France (AP) - Ukraine's defense minister said Wednesday that Ukrainian lives will be saved by a sophisticated air-defense radar that France is supplying and which is powerful enough to spot incoming missiles and exploding drones in the skies over all of Ukraine's capital and its surrounding region.

The minister, Oleksii Reznikov, was so enthusiastic about what he called Ukraine's new "electronic eyes" that he quickly coined a nickname for the Ground Master 200 radar - the "Grand Master."

Speaking through an interpreter at a handover ceremony for the radar with his French counterpart, Reznikov described the French-made GM200 as a "very effective" improvement for Ukraine's network of about 300 different types of air-defense radars.

Thales, the manufacturer, says the radar detects and tracks rockets, artillery and mortar shells, missiles, aircraft, drones and other threats.

"Because of your support, Ukrainian lives will be saved," the minister said at the ceremony in Limours, where Thales makes the equipment.

"This radar will be the cherry on the cake," he added. "That's why it will be called 'Grand Master.'"

The French defense minister, Sebastien Lecornu, said the GM200's range of 250 kilometers (155 miles) would enable it to watch the skies over Kyiv and the Ukrainian capital's surrounding region, although it wasn't clear whether that's where Ukrainian forces intend to deploy it.

The radar is transportable on a truck. Thales says it can be deployed in 15 minutes and be moved to another location in 10 minutes, making it a harder target to hit.

The minister was gifted a small model of the radar at the ceremony and brandished it with a big grin above his head.


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