French President Emmanuel Macron told fellow European leaders on Monday they must ensure their collective security by providing unwavering support to Ukraine in the face of tougher Russian offensives on the battlefield in recent months.
“We are in the process of ensuring our collective security, for today and tomorrow,” Macron said as he hosted 20 European heads of state and government and other Western officials in Paris for a show of unity for Ukraine, as Russia’s full-scale invasion grinds into a third year.
“Russia cannot and must not win that war,” Macron said at the meeting at the presidential palace, which included German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Polish President Andrzej Duda as well as leaders from the Baltic nations.
French President Emmanuel Macron, right, and Poland’s President Andrzej Duda at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France on Monday. Photo: AP

“In recent months particularly, we have seen Russia getting tougher,” Macron said. “We also know that Russia is preparing new attacks, in particular to shock Ukrainian public opinion.”

Macron cited the need to to solidify security to head off any Russian attacks on additional countries in the future. Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia as well as much larger Poland have been considered among possible targets of future Russian expansionism. All four countries are staunch supporters of Ukraine.

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Macron said there was no consensus on sending troops to Ukraine, but the subject could not be ruled out.

“Nothing should be excluded. We will do everything that we must so that Russia does not win,” Macron said, adding that European countries will increase sanctions on countries helping Russia to bypass European sanctions.

Estonia’s foreign minister said earlier this month that Nato has about three or four years to strengthen its defences.
In a video speech, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky called on the leaders gathered in Paris to “ensure that Putin cannot destroy our achievements and cannot expand his aggression to other nations”.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Photo: Ukrinform / dpa

A top French official said the conference is not aimed at making new commitments in terms of weapon deliveries and financial aid, but rather at better coordinating support for Kyiv and ensuring that aid promises are kept. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the conference details and goals.

The United States was represented at the Paris meeting by its top diplomat for Europe, James O’Brien, and the UK by Foreign Secretary David Cameron.
US President Joe Biden, during a visit to New York on Monday, said he hoped a ceasefire in Gaza could start by the beginning of next week.

“My national security advisor tells me that we’re close, we’re close, we’re not done yet. My hope is by next Monday we’ll have a ceasefire,” Biden said.

European nations are worried that the US will dial back support as aid for Kyiv is teetering in Congress. They also have concerns that former US president Donald Trump might return to the White House and change the course of US policy on the continent.

The Paris conference comes after France, Germany and the UK recently signed 10-year bilateral agreements with Ukraine to send a strong signal of long-term backing as Kyiv works to shore up Western support.

Additional reporting by Reuters, Agence France-Presse