Politics

French Foreign Minister Vows Ukraine Will Remain Top Priority

(AFP) — France’s new overseas minister Stephane Sejourne on Saturday renewed his nation’s help to Ukraine, selecting Kyiv for his first official go to overseas, because the struggle with Russia nears a second anniversary.

Sejourne arrived in Kyiv as Ukraine noticed one other wave of in a single day strikes from Russia, which has intensified its aerial assaults lately.

The go to came about as allies wrestle to safe funding, with some worrying that Kyiv may very well be forgotten amid new conflicts, together with between Israel and Hamas.

“Despite the multiplying crisis, Ukraine is and will remain France’s priority,” Sejourne stated.

The freshly-appointed overseas minister defined that “the fundamental principles of international law and the values of Europe, as well as the security interests of the French” had been at stake in Ukraine.

Sejourne, 38, who not like his predecessor Catherine Colonna has no background as knowledgeable diplomat, had already pledged continued help.

Aid promised to Ukraine between August and October 2023 fell virtually 90 p.c from the identical interval in 2022, reaching its lowest level because the begin of the struggle, based on a Kiel Institute survey from December.

An EU help package deal price 50 billion euros ($55 billion) has been caught in Brussels, whereas the US Congress stays divided on sending extra help to Ukraine.

“Russia hopes Ukraine and its supporters will get tired before it does. We will not falter,” Sejourne added.

But Russia, bolstering its arsenal, has equipped for a protracted struggle and reoriented its economic system.

It has in latest weeks intensified its aerial assaults on the war-torn nation.

Russia launched 40 missiles and drones over the nation in an in a single day barrage, the Ukrainian air pressure stated.

It destroyed eight missiles and disabled over 20 units.

“Either they fell in the fields, they were detonated in the air, or they were affected by means of radio-electronic warfare of our defence forces,” air pressure spokesman Yuri Ignat stated on tv.

Russia stated it focused locations producing ammunition and drones and had hit “all designated facilities.”

Ukrainian authorities didn’t report any lifeless within the newest barrage however one civilian was wounded within the Sumy area.

In a press convention alongside Sejourne, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba praised the minister’s “important” go to instantly after his appointment, and regardless of the Russian strikes.

“I am grateful to you for your courage, for the fact that he did not turn around on the way,” Kuleba stated.

He added that that they had “discussed the further supply of systems and missiles to protect the Ukrainian sky, as well as the supply of drones to Ukraine.”

France’s navy help to Ukraine quantities to three.2 billion euro, based on a parliamentary report printed in November.

France has offered artillery and air defence means to Ukraine, Sejourne stated.

“We are entering a new phase of defence cooperation” aiming to “strengthen Ukraine’s capacity to produce the weapons it needs on its own soil,” he added.

Kuleba confirmed that the 2 nations had agreed to “work on creating the most favourable conditions for the interaction of our defence companies” together with legally.

The day earlier than, Kyiv had seen the go to of British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who introduced a brand new multibillion-dollar help package deal for Ukraine and pledged London’s help for a decade.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky hailed the “unprecedented” 10-year safety cooperation settlement in addition to the £2.5 billion ($3.2 billion) in new navy help earmarked for 2024.

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