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Macron holds meeting in Paris to rally European support for Ukraine | Russia-Ukraine war News

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The French president said Ukraine’s allies needed to ‘jump-start’ their support for Kyiv as the war enters its third year.

French President Emmanuel Macron has told European allies that they must provide rapid support to strengthen Ukraine amid tougher Russian attacks on the battlefield as the war in Ukraine stretches into its third year.

“We are in the process of ensuring our collective security, for today and tomorrow,” Macron said as he hosted 20 European heads of state and government and other Western officials in Paris for a show of unity for Ukraine, three years after Russia launched its full-scale invasion.

“Russia cannot and must not win that war,” Macron said at the meeting at the presidential palace, which included German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Polish President Andrzej Duda as well as leaders from the Baltic nations.

“In recent months particularly, we have seen Russia getting tougher,” Macron said. “We also know that Russia is preparing new attacks, in particular to shock Ukrainian public opinion.”

The conference also signals Macron’s eagerness to present himself as a European champion of Ukraine’s cause, amid growing fears that United States support could wane in the coming years.

Ukraine’s allies needed to “jump-start” their support, Macron said.

For Macron, the conference is also a chance to show European autonomy in security matters, which he called for even before Russia’s invasion.

Scholz and Duda were among some 25 European heads of state and government present at the conference, while Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy joined virtually.

After initial successes in pushing back the Russian army, Ukraine has suffered setbacks on eastern battlefields, with its generals complaining of shortages of arms and soldiers.

Speaking to reporters on Sunday, Zelenskyy said that leaders in Europe had realised “how dangerous” the war is for “the whole of Europe”.

“I think they have realised that [Russian President Vladimir] Putin will continue this war,” he said.

But officials say Macron’s meeting is not an occasion to announce new weapons deliveries to Ukraine but more to brainstorm about how to be more efficient on the ground, as well as increase coordination between Ukraine and its allies.

Ammunition supplies have become a critical issue for Kyiv. The European Union, though, is falling short of its target of sending Ukraine a million rounds of artillery shells by March.

“We must be able to deliver more shells. The principle is that shells will be purchased where they are available,” said an adviser to the French president. “There is no dogmatic [French] position.”

Ukrainian Defence Minister Rustem Umerov said on Sunday that half of Western military aid pledged to Kyiv is delivered late, lamenting that “commitment does not constitute delivery”.

Without offering details, Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico, who has long opposed military supplies to Ukraine and has taken a position seen by some critics as pro-Russian, said ahead of travelling to Paris that several NATO and EU members were considering sending soldiers to Ukraine on a bilateral basis.

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