Ukraine’s president pays surprise visit to his French counterpart in Paris


Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy paid a surprise visit Sunday to Paris, where he met with French President Emmanuel Macron. 

In a joint statement following a three-hour meeting at the Elysee Palace, the two leaders condemned the Russia-Ukraine war.

Russia should immediately and unconditionally withdraw its forces from Ukraine, particularly the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, “of which the irresponsible seizure and militarization by Russian armed forces is posing a grave threat,” they said.

The statement also underlined France’s commitment to Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity.

“France will continue its political, financial, humanitarian and military support to Ukraine for as long as it takes – individually and through international cooperation within the European Union, NATO, the United Nations and in other formats,” it said.

The statement noted that France will train many battalions in the coming weeks and equip them with dozens of armored vehicles and light tanks.

Paris will also focus its efforts on “supporting Ukraine’s air defense capabilities” it said.

The statement also warned of further sanctions against Russia, saying the two leaders “agreed on the need to increase collective pressure on Russia through further sanctions to weaken Russia’s ability to continue its illegal war of aggression.”

France also emphasized the importance of Ukraine’s “consistent efforts to continue the Black Sea Grain Initiative and launch the Grain from Ukraine Humanitarian Program aimed at enhancing global food security,” it said.

On Saturday, Zelenskyy paid a visit to Rome and met with Italy’s president and prime minister, while in his official visit to Berlin on Sunday, he met with German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

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