France to host allied conference to reaffirm support for Ukraine

Paris, Feb 26 (IANS): French President Emmanuel Macron is due to host a conference for Kiev's partners on Monday to strengthen the allied commitment to Ukraine after the full-scale war entered its third year, media reported.

Ukraine faces mounting challenges in early 2024. Delays in US aid caused ammunition shortages that contributed to the Ukrainian withdrawal from the key frontline city of Avdiivka, The Kyiv Independent reported.

Meanwhile, Russia is ramping up pressure along the front while hiking defence spending and securing military assistance from its partners like North Korea and Iran.

The meeting, scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. local time, will be a chance to "reaffirm their (allies') unity as well as their determination to defeat the war of aggression waged by Russia in Ukraine," the French presidency said.

"We want to send Putin a very clear message, that he won't win in Ukraine," Macron's advisor said, according to Reuters.

"Our goal is to crush this idea he wants us to believe that he would be somehow winning."

According to the French newspaper Le Monde, the meeting is also a chance for France's head of state to present himself as a champion of the pro-Ukrainian coalition amid waning support from the US, The Kyiv Independent reported.

"Two years of war. Battered and bruised, but still standing. Ukraine is fighting for itself, for its ideals, for our Europe. Our commitment at its side will not waver," Macron said on the social media platform X on February 24 on the second anniversary of the full-scale war.

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky is expected to deliver an opening address via video conference.

Some 20 European leaders, including German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Polish President Andrzej Duda, UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron, and Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, are expected to attend, The Kyiv Independent reported.

The US will be represented by US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Jim O'Brien, and Canada by Defence Minister Bill Blair.

The French advisor told journalists that the meeting would not be a chance to announce new aid deliveries but an opportunity to brainstorm more effective support and improve coordination between Kiev and its allies.

Paris concluded a long-term security agreement with Ukraine earlier this month, committing 3 billion euros ($3.25 billion) in military aid this year, as well as a new assistance package, including artillery and air defences.



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Title: France to host allied conference to reaffirm support for Ukraine

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