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France to host allied conference to reaffirm support for Ukraine

by Martin Fornusek February 26, 2024 11:03 AM 2 min read
French President Emmanuel Macron gestures as he delivers a speech at the Globsec regional security forum in Bratislava, Slovakia, on May 31, 2023. (Michal Cizek/AFP via Getty Images)
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French President Emmanuel Macron is due to host a conference for Kyiv's partners on Feb. 26 to strengthen the allied commitment to Ukraine after the full-scale war entered its third year.

Ukraine faces mounting challenges in early 2024. Delays in U.S. aid caused ammunition shortages that contributed to the Ukrainian withdrawal from the key front-line city of Avdiivka.

In turn, Russia is ramping up pressure along the front while hiking defense 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 U.S.

"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 Feb. 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, U.K. Foreign Secretary David Cameron, and Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, are expected to attend.

The U.S. will be represented by U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Jim O'Brien, and Canada by Defense 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 Kyiv and partners.

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 defenses.

Editorial: It’s been 2 years and world’s on the brink. Time to wake up or fall
Two years ago today, our website’s homepage blasted, in all caps, “PUTIN DECLARES WAR ON UKRAINE.” We all have come a long way since that morning of Feb. 24, 2022. From the initial shock of waking up to the sound of air strikes on our cities, through the sense
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