Macron says France to ‘intensify’ military, humanitarian aid to Ukraine

French President Emmanuel Macron said on Saturday that France would "intensify" its supply of military and humanitarian support following a conversation with his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky.

macron and zelenksy
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky (R) and French President Emmanuel Macron shake hands after a press conference following their meeting in Kyiv on February 8, 2022. (Photo by Sergei SUPINSKY / AFP)

Zelensky thanked France for “large-scale military shipments that contribute to the Ukrainian resistance,” Macron said, adding “that this support will continue to intensify, as will the humanitarian assistance provided by France”.

“The mission of French experts contributing to the collection of evidence to fight against impunity and allow the work of international justice concerning crimes committed in the context of the Russian aggression will continue,” he said.

The United States, France, the Czech Republic and other allies have provided Kyiv with hundreds of long-range artillery pieces to help it counter Moscow’s offensive in the Donbas.

Paris is sending its ultra-modern Caesar canons.

The French presidency said on Saturday that aid to Ukraine amounted to “more than 615 tonnes of equipment, including medical equipment, generators for hospitals, food aid, shelter aid and emergency vehicles”.

READ ALSO: Why France is leading the EU in seizing Russian assets

Newly re-elected Macron said he wanted to “work actively during his second term to restore Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, always maintaining close coordination with its European partners and allies”.

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France ‘strongly condemns’ Russia’s expulsion of its diplomats

France "strongly condemns" the expulsion of 34 of its diplomats by Russia, the foreign ministry said Wednesday, a tit-for-tat move by Moscow after Paris ordered some Russian staff to leave.

France 'strongly condemns' Russia's expulsion of its diplomats

Saying the step had “no legitimate basis”, the ministry said in a statementthat “the work of the diplomats and staff at (France’s) embassy in Russia… takes place fully within the framework of the Vienna Convention on diplomatic and consular relations” — whereas Paris expelled the Russian staff in April on suspicion of being spies.

Moscow said Wednesday it was expelling 34 “employees of French diplomatic missions” in a tit-for-tat move following the
expulsion of Russian diplomats from France as part of joint European action over Russia’s campaign in Ukraine.

“Thirty four employees of French diplomatic missions in Russia have been declared persona non grata,” Russia’s foreign ministry said in a statement, adding that they have two weeks to leave the country.

Moscow made the announcement after summoning France’s ambassador to Russia, Pierre Levy, and telling him that the expulsion of 41 employees of Russian diplomatic missions was a “provocative and unfounded decision”, the statement

“It has been stressed that this step causes serious damage to Russian-French relations and constructive bilateral cooperation,” the foreign ministry said.

French President Emmanuel Macron initially led diplomatic outreach to the Kremlin over Moscow’s military campaign in Ukraine but his talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin have eventually tapered off and overt French military
support to Ukraine has increased in recent months.