Russian defeat in Ukraine vital for Europe – Macron

Connie Queline

Russian defeat in Ukraine vital for Europe – Macron

Reuters

French President Emmanuel Macron has said it is key for Europe’s security to defeat Russia in Ukraine, amid urgent pleas for more weapons from Kyiv.

He was speaking in Paris where he said that European leaders had agreed to set up a coalition to give Ukraine medium- and long-range missiles and bombs.

He added that there was “no consensus” on sending Western troops to Ukraine but “nothing should be excluded”.

Russian troops made recent gains in Ukraine which faces big arms shortages.

Kyiv is critically dependent on modern armoury supplies from its Western allies, particularly the US, to be able to continue fighting Russia – a much bigger military force with an abundance of artillery ammunition.

But the approval of a much needed $95bn (£75bn) US aid package- including $61bn for Ukraine – faces an uphill battle in the House of Representatives.

Last weekend, Ukraine’s defence minister said half of all Western aid for Kyiv had been delayed, costing lives and territory.

A full-scale invasion of Ukraine launched by Russian President Vladimir Putin is now in its third year, with no signs that the biggest war in Europe since World War Two could end soon.

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Monday’s crisis meeting in support of Ukraine was attended by heads of European states, including German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, and top government officials like UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron.

Delegations from the US and Canada were also present.

French President Emmanuel Macron speaks after a meeting in support of Ukraine in Paris. Photo: 26 February 2024

EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock

President Macron said: “We are convinced that the defeat of Russia is indispensable to security and stability in Europe.”

Describing Russia as the “sole aggressor”, he said, “We are not at war with the Russian people. We just don’t want to let them win.”.

Mr Macron announced that a coalition would provide Ukraine with “missiles and bombs of medium and long range to carry out deep strikes”. He did not say when such weapons would be delivered.

And he did not rule out sending Western ground troops to Ukraine but acknowledged that differences remained among the allies.

“There was no consensus today to send troops on to the ground in an manner that’s official, assumed and endorsed,” he said. “But on the dynamic, nothing should be excluded. We will do everything so that Russia cannot win this war.”

“We should not exclude that there might be a need for security that then justifies some elements of deployment,” he added. “But I’ve told you very clearly what France maintains as its position, which is a strategic ambiguity that I stand by.”

Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala earlier said his country had no intention of deploying its forces to fight in Ukraine.

He was reacting to comments by his Slovak counterpart Robert Fico, who was quoted by Reuters news agency as saying: “I can confirm there are countries that are prepared to send their own troops to Ukraine, there are countries that say never, among which Slovakia belongs, and there are countries that say this proposal needs to be considered.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who also took part in Monday’s meeting by video link, said that “everything we do together to defend against Russian aggression adds real security to our nations for decades to come”.

Russia has repeatedly warned that any Western troop deployment in Ukraine would trigger a direct conflict between Moscow and the Nato military alliance.

Map showing the front line in Ukraine and highlighting Avdiivka, Bakhmut, Robotyne and Krynky

Related Topics

  • War in Ukraine
  • France
  • Russia
  • Emmanuel Macron
  • Vladimir Putin
  • Ukraine

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