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On the flight back from the Munich Security Conference on Feb. 18, French President Emmanuel Macron told reporters that while he wanted Moscow's defeat in Ukraine, France would never advocate for "crushing Russia."
“I want Russia to be defeated in Ukraine, and I want Ukraine to be able to defend its position, but I am convinced that in the end, it will not be concluded militarily," Macron said, French newspaper Le Figaro reported.
“I don't think, like some, that Russia should be totally defeated, attacked on its soil. These observers want, above all, to crush Russia. This has never been France's position, and it never will be."
The security conference held on Feb. 17-19 brought together multiple leaders, including German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and French President Emmanuel Macron.
German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius pledged continued support of Ukraine. Macron similarly called on Europe as a whole to "invest more in defense."
President Volodymyr Zelensky joined the event online, giving a video address on Feb. 17. In his speech, Zelensky said that "there are no alternatives" to Ukrainian victory, the country's membership in the EU and NATO.
"There is no alternative to our unity. Therefore, there is and will be no alternative to getting rid of Russian aggression once and for all, liberating the land and the people," Zelensky said.