| 25 February 2024, Sunday |

‘This is total war’: France says Putin wants to remove Ukraine ‘off map of nations’

On Friday, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of attempting to destabilize Ukraine’s statehood and warned that Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s “security” was in jeopardy.

“We’re in the midst of a complete conflict.” “President Putin has determined to remove Ukraine from the map of countries,” Le Drian said on France Inter radio.

“The Donbas issue is nothing more than a pretext,” he added, referring to the eastern Ukraine region held in part by pro-Russian rebels.

“What Putin wants is Ukraine’s capitulation, and he’ll keep going until he has it,” he continued.

“The security of President Zelensky is a vital aspect of everything that is going on,” he stated, adding, “We are ready to assist him if required.”

However, Le Drian declined to be pushed on whether such assistance could include the president’s expulsion from Ukraine.

Despite Russia designating him as “target number one,” Zelensky and his family stayed in Ukraine early Friday.

France is also “concerned” about a hypothetical Russian military strike against Moldova and Georgia, two other former Soviet republics, according to Le Drian.

He criticized “a Russian slide toward involvement” in other nations, citing Putin’s frequent assertions of his country’s supposed historical grievances since the Soviet Union’s demise.

French officials have warned that the situation along NATO’s eastern flank may soon intensify, with Putin threatening to test the West’s commitment by attempting to seize control of Transnistria, a breakaway area of Moldova that has proclaimed independence, or other former Soviet territory.

After Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Lithuania, a Baltic state that is now a member of NATO’s military alliance, declared a state of emergency on Thursday.

“Putin is rewriting the history books.” “He wants to re-establish an empire and display his authority in every way he can,” Le Drian explained.

“We’ve entered a new era. This is not like the Cold Conflict, since there was no war back then. “What’s different is that this is a conflict in Europe’s heartland,” he explained.

  • AFP