As he met with Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelenskyy at the Elysee Palace in Paris, French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday pledged that France would firmly stand by Ukraine.
France is “determined to help Ukraine to victory and the re-establishment of its legitimate rights,” said Macron ahead of a late night dinner with Zelenskyy and Germany’s Olaf Scholz, adding Paris would “continue the efforts” to deliver arms to Kyiv.
Macron added that Russia could not be allowed to win the war and that the two leaders, along with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz who traveled to Paris as well, would be discussing Kyiv’s needs to sustain its war efforts.
Scholz also assured Zelenskyy of enduring allied support. The German chancellor said that since Russia’s invasion began a year ago, Germany and its partners had backed Ukraine “financially, with humanitarian aid and with weapons.”
“We will continue to do so as long as necessary,” Scholz told reporters.
Scholz said that leaders at an EU summit on Thursday would send a strong signal of solidarity with Kyiv. “I am taking a clear message to Brussels: Ukraine belongs to the European family,” he said.
Meanwhile, Zelenskyy urged France and Germany to be “game changers” by sending modern planes to Ukraine. “We have very little time. I’m talking now about the weapons needed for peace and to stop the war started by Russia,” the Ukrainian president said.
“France and Germany have the potential to be game changers and that’s how I see our talks today. The sooner we get heavy long range weapons and our pilots get modern planes … the quicker this Russian aggression will end,” he added.
Earlier on Wednesday, Zelenskyy visited London. It is his second foreign trip since Russia invaded on February 24, 2022, after a December visit to Washington, where he met with President Joe Biden and addressed the US Congress. On Thursday, Zelenskyy is expected to join EU leaders at a summit in Brussels.
Here are some of the other notable developments concerning the war in Ukraine on Wednesday, February 8.
SpaceX curbed Ukraine’s use of Starlink internet for drones
SpaceX has taken steps to prevent Ukraine’s military from using the company’s Starlink satellite internet service for controlling drones in the region during the country’s war with Russia, according to Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX’s president.
SpaceX’s Starlink satellite internet service, which has provided Ukraine’s military with broadband communications in its defense against Russia’s military, was “never never meant to be weaponized,” Shotwell said.
“However, Ukrainians have leveraged it in ways that were unintentional and not part of any agreement,” she said. Speaking later with reporters, Shotwell referred to reports that the Ukrainian military had used the Starlink service to control drones.
“There are things that we can do to limit their ability to do that,” she said, referring to Starlink’s use with drones. “There are things that we can do, and have done.” Shotwell declined to say what measures SpaceX had taken.
Zelenskyy visits London
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy embarked on a rare foreign trip on Wednesday for talks with European allies.
The president started off in the UK, where he appealed for donations of fighter jets for Ukraine. He spoke in the House of Commons, parliament’s lower chamber, held talks with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, and had an audience with King Charles III.
Reports of intensifying fighting on the front lines continued to gather pace as both Russia and Ukraine claimed to have inflicted heavy casualties on the opposing sides.
Ukraine’s military said overnight that 1,030 Russian troops had been killed over a 24-hour period, the highest daily toll of the war.
The figure could not be independently verified, nor could Russia’s claim of having inflicted 6,500 Ukrainian casualties in the month of January.
But the reports appear to corroborate both sides’ accounts of intensified fighting, in particular around the city of Bakhmut.