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Zelensky: As long as Ukraine holds, French army can stay in France

by Elsa Court and The Kyiv Independent news desk March 11, 2024 10:56 PM 2 min read
President Volodymyr Zelensky at the Made in Ukraine summit in Kyiv on Feb. 26, 2024 (President's Office)
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President Volodymyr Zelensky told French broadcaster BFMTV on March 11 that "as long as Ukraine holds, the French army can stay in French territory."

Zelensky was addressing French President Emmanuel Macron's recent comments that sending Western troops into Ukraine cannot be "ruled out."

Macron's words prompted the U.S. and multiple European allies, as well as NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, to distance themselves from the statement.

French soldiers "will not die in Ukraine," Zelensky said, but warned that if Russian President Vladimir Putin launches an attack on a NATO member state, the situation will be different.

"The fact that (Macron) says that we cannot exclude anything is linked to what Putin wants to do," Zelensky said.

Zelensky also remarked that the situation on the front line is "much better than during the last three months," and that "Russia's advance has been stopped."

During the interview, Zelensky also addressed Pope Francis' call for Ukraine to negotiate peace with Russia and raise the "white flag."

"For Putin, a break is oxygen," Zelensky said. "It is not to negotiate, it is a way of restoring the military capabilities of his army and training his young conscripts."

In a statement released following the publication of the interview, the director of the Vatican Press Office, Matteo Bruni, clarified that the Pope didn't call for Ukraine's surrender, but for a ceasefire and negotiations.

"His hope is a diplomatic solution for a just and lasting peace," Bruni said.

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