Macron says France will provide Ukraine with Mirage combat aircraft

6 June 2024, 21:24

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and his wife Olena Zelenska, second left, are welcomed by French President Emanuel Macron, right, and his wife Brigitte Macron, at the international ceremony at
D-Day 80th Anniversary. Picture: PA

France will also start training Ukrainian pilots, French President Emmanuel Macron said.

French President Emmanuel Macron has said France will provide Ukraine with its Mirage combat aircraft to be able to defend their country against Russian aggression.

Mr Macron spoke after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky joined world leaders in France to commemorate the D-Day invasion.

Mr Zelensky was also in France to seek more Western help even as his forces battled to stave off a Russian onslaught near the eastern city of Kharkiv, in a war that has become Europe’s biggest conflict since the Second World War.

D-DAY 80th Anniversary
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is greeted by French President Emmanuel Macron (Ludovic Marin/AP)

Mr Macron told a French public broadcaster he will announce on Friday a new co-operation with Ukraine and the sale of Mirage 2005, the French-made combat aircraft, which will “allow Ukraine to protect its soil, its airspace” against Russian attacks.

France will also start training Ukrainian pilots, Mr Macron said and reiterated that Ukraine should be allowed to use weapons provided by its Western allies to target Russian military targets and “neutralise the points from which (the country) is being attacked”.

The Netherlands and Denmark promised last year to give F-16 warplanes to Ukraine and the United States is training Ukrainian pilots at a base in Arizona. Mr Macron did not specify when the French combat aircraft would arrive.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and his wife Olena Zelenska arrive at the international ceremony at Omaha Beach in Normandy
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and his wife Olena Zelenska arrive at the international ceremony at Omaha Beach in Normandy (Virginia Mayo/AP)

Mr Zelensky and his wife Olena attended the 80th-anniversary events in Normandy with US President Joe Biden and European leaders who have supported Kyiv’s efforts in the war, now in its third year.

He will meet French officials in Paris on Friday.

Although the promise of French aircraft will be welcome in Kyiv, Ukraine is currently fighting to hold back a recent Russian push in eastern areas, including the border regions of Kharkiv and Donetsk, that seeks to exploit Kyiv’s shortages of ammunition and troops along the roughly 1,000km (620-mile) front line.

Ukraine has framed the conflict as a clash between Western democratic freedom and Russian tyranny. Russia says it is defending itself against a menacing eastward expansion of the Nato military alliance.

By Press Association

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