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UKRAINE

‘This war will last,’ warns France’s President Macron on Ukraine

The world must brace for a long war between Russia and Ukraine after Moscow launched an invasion of its pro-Western neighbour, French President Emmanuel Macron warned on Saturday.

'This war will last,' warns France's President Macron on Ukraine
French President Emmanuel Macron claims Russia's invasion of Ukraine will be a long war. (Photo by JOHN THYS / POOL / AFP)

“I can tell you one thing this morning it is that this war will last,” Macron’s told France’s annual agriculture fair.

“This crisis will last, this war will last and all the crises that come with it will have lasting consequences,” Macron added, warning: “We must be prepared”.

Macron cut short his visit to the agriculture fair, usually one of the main fixtures on the French political calendar, in order to return to dealing with the crisis triggered by the Russian invasion.

READ MORE: How life in France could be impacted by the Russian invasion of Ukraine

“War has returned to Europe, this was chosen unilaterally by President (Vladimir) Putin, with a tragic humanitarian situation, a (Ukrainian) people who are resisting and a Europe that is there and resisting by the side of the Ukrainian people,” said Macron.

Macron has again called an emergency defence council of top ministers and military security officials to discuss the situation in Ukraine which will take place at 4pm UK time, the Elysee said.

With the war and sanctions against Russia risking damage for specific sectors in France, notably the wine industry, Macron vowed a “plan of resilience” to help them cope.

The French leader was a key figure in efforts to avert conflict, repeatedly speaking to Putin and seeking in vain to broker a summit between the Russian leader and US President Joe Biden.

The war has also broken out as the clock ticks down to France’s presidential elections in April.

READ ALSO: Solidarity, sanctions or NATO-blaming: What French presidential candidates say about Ukraine

Macron, who is expected to seek and win a second term, has left the official declaration of his candidacy to the last minute, although he must make a move next week ahead of a March 4th deadline to register.

Member comments

  1. The war has changed Europe with normally neutral countries like Switzerland, Ireland, Sweden, Denmark and others condemning Russian invasion, it has also United eastern and western countries in a way that other issues would divide them.

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POLITICS

Prosecutors: No new rape inquiry for France’s disabilities minister

France's disabilities minister will not face a new inquiry "as things stand" over a rape allegation that surfaced just after his nomination by President Emmanuel Macron last week, prosecutors have said, citing the anonymity of the alleged victim.

Prosecutors: No new rape inquiry for France's disabilities minister

Damien Abad has faced growing pressure to resign after the news website Mediapart reported the assault claims by two women dating from over a decade ago, which he has denied.

One of the women, identified only by her first name, Margaux, filed a rape complaint in 2017 that was later dismissed by prosecutors.

The other woman, known only as Chloe, told Mediapart that in 2010 she had blacked out after accepting a glass of champagne from Abad at a bar in Paris, and woke up in her underwear in pain with him in a hotel room. She believes she may have been drugged.

She did not file an official complaint, but the Paris prosecutors’ office said it was looking into the case after being informed by the Observatory of Sexist and Sexual Violence in Politics, a group formed by members of France’s MeToo movement.

“As things stand, the Paris prosecutors’ office is not following up on the letter” from the observatory, it said, citing “the inability to identify the victim of the alleged acts and therefore the impossibility of proceeding to a hearing.”

In cases of sexual assault against adults, Paris prosecutors can open an inquiry only if an official complaint is made, meaning the victim must give their identity.

Abad has rejected the calls to resign in order to ensure the new government’s “exemplarity,” saying that he is innocent and that his own condition of arthrogryposis, which limits the movement of his joints, means sexual relations can occur only with the help of a partner.

The appointment of Abad as minister for solidarities and people with disabilities in a reshuffle last Friday was seen as a major coup for Macron, as the 42-year-old had defected from the right-wing opposition.

The new prime minister, Elisabeth Borne, said she was unaware of the allegations before Abad’s nomination, but insisted that “If there is new information, if a new complaint is filed, we will draw all the consequences.”

The claims could loom large over parliamentary elections next month, when Macron is hoping to secure a solid majority for his reformist agenda. Abad will be standing for re-election in the Ain department north of Lyon.

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