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Zelensky urges West to do more for fair peace
Published on: Saturday, June 08, 2024
By: AFP
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Zelensky urges West to do more for fair peace
Zelensky (right) is applauded by French PM Gabriel Attal (2nd left), Minister for Foreign and European Affairs Stephane Sejourne (3rd left) and former Prime ministers Alain Juppe (4th left) and Manuel Valls (5th left) after delivering a speech at the National Assembly in Paris.
PARIS: President Volodymyr Zelensky on Friday urged the West to do more to achieve a fair peace as Ukraine battles the Russian invasion and expressed confidence that Kyiv would emerge victorious in the conflict.

One day after Western leaders descended on northern France to mark the 80 year anniversary of the D-Day landings in World War II, Zelensky addressed the French parliament in Paris while US President Joe Biden was to deliver a keynote speech on democracy in Normandy.

Zelensky told France’s National Assembly he hoped a summit hosted by Switzerland later this month on bringing peace to Ukraine could hasten a fair end to the conflict.

“The inaugural peace summit could become a format that would bring closer a just end to this war,” Zelensky said.

“I am grateful for all you are already doing and it is a lot. But for a fair peace, more must be done,” he said.

He warned that 80 years after the D-Day landings of World War II, Europe was “unfortunately no longer a continent of peace” after Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022.

“Can (Russian President Vladimir) Putin win this battle?” Zelensky asked parliament. “No. Because you and I have no right to lose,” he added.

Zelensky dismissed there could be peace in Ukraine based on current front lines, with Russia sometimes deep inside Ukrainian territory.

“Can this war end on the lines that exist now? No. Because there are no lines for evil: not 80 years ago, not now.”

“And if someone tries to draw temporary lines, it will only give a pause before a new war.”

Kyiv has been pushing Europe to increase military support, with Russia gaining the upper hand on the battlefield in recent months and concerns growing over what a United States led by former president Donald Trump could mean for the conflict.

Speaking to French television, President Emmanuel Macron said late Thursday Paris would transfer Mirage 2000 fighter jets to Ukraine and train Ukrainian pilots as part of a new military cooperation.

Macron said he would offer to Zelensky that the pilots be trained starting this summer.

“You need normally between five-six months. So by the end of the year there will be pilots. The pilots will be trained in France,” he said.

He said Western allies would consider a request from Ukraine to send military instructors to train its forces on its soil to meet the growing challenge of building up troop numbers.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Macron’s comments indicated he was ready for France to take a ‘direct’ role in Ukraine conflict.

Zelensky will hold a bilateral meeting with Biden in Paris from 1000 GMT before talks in the afternoon from around 1500 GMT with Macron.

Later Friday, Biden will return to Normandy to give a speech on defending freedom and democracy at the Pointe du Hoc, a clifftop promontory where German bunkers were attacked by US troops in a daring assault during the landings.

Biden also vowed that under his leadership, the United States “will not walk away” from Ukraine “because if we do, Ukraine will be subjugated and it will not end there”. 

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