June 14. 2024. 1:26

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In Paris, Ukraine’s Zelenskyy draws parallel between D-Day and Kyiv’s fight

Calling for greater unity of the international community, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Friday (7 June) drew a parallel between the Allied D-Day landings in Normandy and Russia’s war in Ukraine.

“Without the D-Day victory, Ukraine would not exist, France would not exist, and there would be no free nations,” Zelenskyy said in a speech in front of the French National Assembly.

Just a day earlier, the Ukrainian leader had attended D-Day commemorations in Normandy and was due to exchange with world leaders on the situation in Ukraine, including US President Joe Biden.

International involvement at a critical moment of the Second World War in 1944 came from the hope that “no one could proclaim to be the master of others,” Zelenskyy told French lawmakers in Paris, warning that “Nazism had returned” with Russia.

“The Russian regime knows no limits, and Europe will not suffice. It already destroyed Syria, threatens the Sahel region, and threatens life where it faces no opposition”.

A Ukraine peace conference in Switzerland next week (15-16 June) “will be our D-Day,” Zelenskyy said.

His speech came a day after French President Emmanuel Macron announced Paris would deliver Mirage 2000 fighter jets to Ukraine and train pilots over the next six months.

“We will start a new cooperation and announce the delivery of Mirage 2000-5 […], enabling Ukraine to protect its territory and airspace. As of tomorrow, we will start a training programme for [Ukrainian] pilots,” Macron has said in a TV interview.

Zelenskyy hoped “to see fighter jets of the likes we saw in Normandy [during the commemorations] in Ukrainian skies”.

Once trained, Ukrainian pilots would “prove that Europe is stronger than the evil that dared threaten it”, he added.

Mirage 2000-5, built by French defence behemoth Dassault Aviation, are the company’s oldest generation of fighter jets – and are no longer being produced.

Both leaders are due to meet on Friday afternoon and should announce the exact number of planes that will be delivered by Paris.

The delivery of fighter jets, long a taboo topic considered too complex to implement, comes atop a series of weapon deliveries and logistical support from France and the EU since the start of the war, including anti-aircraft defence systems, tanks and long-range missiles.

Zelenskyy, speaking in front of only a half-full French parliament, where both the far-left and the conservatives had made themselves scarce – citing campaigning constraints – also insisted on the need for international unity, as ammunitions are running low and Russia is pounding Ukraine from Russian-based missile launch sites.

“We need world unity to win,” Zelenskyy said, describing the Kremlin as “anti-Europe” and “a common enemy”.

Finally, he ruled out any peace negotiations at this stage.

“Should we stop [and negotiate] with existing front lines? No, because there are no acceptable lines for evil. If someone tries to draw new provisional borders, it will only lead to a pause before a new war,” Zelenskyy said.

Within minutes of Zelenskyy’s closing remarks, the French opposition warned against escalatory risks. Communist leader Fabien Roussel claimed, “Zelenskyy wants a D-Day of his own,” marking “the beginning of a Third World War”.

Meanwhile, far-right Rassemblement National (RN) lead candidate Jordan Bardella argued that the delivery of Mirages 2000s amounted to a “dangerous game” Macron would allegedly be playing.

In a press statement on his Telegram channel, Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov argued Emmanuel Macron’s new announcements mean France is “ready to get directly involved in the conflict”.

Read more with Euractiv

EU Commission tells member states to move with Ukraine, Moldova negotiation frameworks

EU Commission tells member states to move with Ukraine, Moldova negotiation frameworks

The European Commission said on Friday (7 June) that both Ukraine and Moldova are sufficiently ready for the formal opening of EU accession talks.