| 14 April 2024, Sunday |

Time for more Ukraine support, not Russia dialogue, Macron says

Emmanuel Macron, the president of France, gave the impression on Friday that he was taking a harder line with Moscow. He urged allies to provide military aid to Ukraine so that it could fend off Russia’s invasion, saying that now was not the time for talks.

Some NATO allies have criticized Macron for sending conflicting messages about his stance on the conflict between Ukraine and Russia, and some see Paris as a weak link in the Western alliance.

On Friday, he sought to straighten the course.

“The time is not for dialogue with Russia,” he said in a speech to the Munich Security Conference, adding that Russia’s almost one-year-old invasion of its neighbor “had to fail.”

He sought to make it clear that, for now, he would be doubling down on French support for Kyiv.

“We absolutely need to intensify our support and our effort to the resistance of the Ukrainian people and its army and help them to launch a counter-offensive which alone can allow credible negotiations, determined by Ukraine, its authorities and its people,” he said.

“We are ready today to intensify (our efforts) and we are ready for an extended conflict .. It is the only way to bring Russia back to the table and build a lasting peace.”

If Europe is to be in it for the long haul, Macron said, the bloc needs to invest in rearmament, and shift supply chains back to the continent and away from non-EU partners.

He called for the EU to come up with a joint defense investment programme by the summer so that it could look after its own interests.

“If Europe wants to defend Europe it must arm itself, take advantage of NATO inter-operability, but also accelerate its capacity to produce on European soil,” he said.

  • Reuters