Volodymyr Zelensky can count on the “unwavering support” of his allies. As the first anniversary of the invasion launched by Vladimir Putin on February 24, 2022 approaches, the Ukrainian president was welcomed on Wednesday evening at the Elysée by his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron, who had also invited German Chancellor Olaf Scholz for a late dinner.
From the outset, during a press conference bringing together the three leaders, Emmanuel Macron expressed, with Olaf Scholz, “our solidarity, our support, our desire to accompany Ukraine towards victory, towards peace and towards Europe”. According to him, “what is at stake in Ukraine engages the future of Europe”.
Macron and Scholz temporize on fighter planes
The French president affirming that “Russia cannot and must not win”, the Ukrainian leader took the opportunity to demand that his allies deliver combat planes to him “as soon as possible”, after having done the same during the day in London on a surprise European tour.
In front of the press, the two European leaders however temporized on the question of these planes, a new stage in the support for kyiv to which the British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak had, a little earlier, seemed to pave the way with caution. The moment is crucial for Ukraine, which is worried about the recent successes of the Russian army, supported by the paramilitaries of the Wagner group and reinforced by hundreds of thousands of mobilized civilians, in the Donbass and fears a major offensive in the next weeks.
“We have very little time,” insisted Volodymyr Zelensky at the Elysée. “The sooner Ukraine gets heavy long-range weaponry, the sooner our pilots get planes, the sooner this Russian aggression will end and we could return to peace in Europe,” he added during the meeting. this flash stage of a journey kept secret until the last moment.
Paris stands “firmly” alongside kyiv
To Olaf Scholz, who only agreed to provide heavy tanks after a long resistance and is opposed to sending fighters, the Ukrainian president assured that it was the “most rational choice today”. today”. The chancellor for his part confined himself to assuring him that the allies would support his country, in particular militarily, “as long as necessary”.
Emmanuel Macron for his part affirmed that “the crime of aggression cannot be tolerated under any circumstances, even less if it is done by a power such as Russia”. He therefore promised to continue the “effort” of “delivery of defense equipment”. “We stand firmly alongside Ukraine,” reiterated the French president.
“There is no peace without justice” insists Macron
The French president also said he wanted to “build peace” on the basis of the “10-point plan” proposed last fall by Volodymyr Zelensky. The process will notably have to go through an “international conference” involving “the maximum number of partners”. The tenant of the Elysée does not intend to ignore justice, because without it “there is no peace”. Emmanuel Macron therefore assured his counterpart that Europe will be there “so that the suffering inflicted on the Ukrainian people is judged, so that the war crimes of which the Russian soldiers are guilty are punished and so that the memory of the victims is preserved. . »
Thursday, the Ukrainian leader, whose second trip abroad for a year after the United States in December, must go to Brussels for a summit of the European Union. “It is a strong signal that the President is personally participating in this first meeting of the year of EU Heads of State and Government, a signal of European solidarity”, welcomed Olaf Scholz.