April 13. 2024. 5:55

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France to ‘accompany’ Ukraine to victory, reconstruction


French President Emmanuel Macron expressed his full commitment to accompany Ukraine to victory and during reconstruction after the war, following a dinner at the Elysée with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Wednesday evening.

“Russia cannot and must not prevail,” said Macron, before adding that France would continue its delivery of arms to Ukraine.

Scholz, for his part, told Zelenskyy that the allies would support Ukraine against the Russian invasion “as long as necessary”, including through military aid.

“We are committed to Ukraine (…), and we have also supported Ukraine through financial aid, humanitarian aid and armaments, heavy artillery, air defence and, most recently, the delivery of battle tanks, and we will continue to do so as long as necessary,” he said.

Zelenskyy, who fears a Russian offensive in the spring, recently requested longer-range missiles and fighter jets from his allies. The Ukrainian president reiterated his request before his French and German counterparts.

“The sooner Ukraine gets long-range heavy weaponry, the sooner our pilots get planes, the sooner this Russian aggression will end, and we could return to peace in Europe,” he said, warning that “we have very little time”.

Zelenskyy also stressed Ukraine’s “gratitude” to Macron and Scholz. “France and Germany stood by Ukraine all these months,” he said, adding, “We have guaranteed a strong unity, the unity of Europe.”

“We stand by Ukraine. What is being played out in Ukraine involves the future of Europe. We advocate the restoration of the rights of Ukraine,” said Macron.

The three heads of state are now expected in Brussels for an extraordinary European Council summit on 9-10 February.

Zelenskyy’s participation in the summit is a “strong signal”, concluded Scholz.

(Clara Bauer-Babef | EURACTIV.fr)