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14 May, 2024 21:15

France announces surprise extra aid package for Ukraine

Paris has pledged to send more weaponry to Kiev, ramping up support amid escalating tensions with Russia
France announces surprise extra aid package for Ukraine

French President Emmanuel Macron has agreed to provide an extra military aid package to Ukraine within the next several weeks, boosting support for Kiev amid rising fears over Russia’s battlefield gains.

“The president of the republic reiterated France’s determination to provide all the necessary support, over the long term and with all of its partners, to defeat Russia’s war of aggression,” the Elysee said in a statement regarding Macron’s call on Tuesday with Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky. “He was also able to detail the deliveries for the coming days and weeks in support of the Ukrainian military effort.”

The statement offered no specifics on the scope or content of the additional weapons shipments. Macron warned on Saturday that the EU would “lose all credibility and security” if Russian forces prevail in Ukraine. He again hinted at the possibility of the Western military bloc sending troops to Ukraine – a prospect that NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has ruled out.

“Our own future and our security are at stake in Ukraine,” Macron said. He added that Ukraine’s European allies must be “ready to act” if “the Russians are going too far.” Russian officials have criticized the French leader’s “belligerent rhetoric,” saying his statements are leading to further escalation of the Ukraine crisis.

During Tuesday’s call with Zelensky, Macron “strongly condemned” intensifying Russian airstrikes in Ukraine, including attacks on energy infrastructure, the Elysee said. Russian forces have made steady gains since February, including the capture of dozens of villages in recent days as they advance toward Kharkov.

Macron emphasized to Zelensky his strong support for a global “truce” that would halt the fighting in Ukraine and elsewhere around the world during the Summer Olympics, which Paris will be hosting from July 26 through August 11. The French leader unveiled the temporary truce proposal last week during a visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping, who backed the idea. Such a ceasefire might provide an opportunity to negotiate a peace deal “in compliance with international law and the legitimate interests of Ukraine,” Macron said.

 

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