Ukraine ‘will remain France’s priority’ despite international crisis


ALLIES “WILL NOT FALTER”

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

But Russia, bolstering its arsenal, has geared up for a long war and reoriented its economy.

It has in recent weeks intensified its aerial assaults on the war-torn country.

Russia launched 40 missiles and drones over the country in an overnight barrage, the Ukrainian air force said.

It destroyed eight missiles and disabled over 20 devices.

“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 force spokesman Yuri Ignat said on television.

Russia said it targeted places producing ammunition and drones and had hit “all designated facilities”.

Ukrainian authorities did not report any dead in the latest barrage but one civilian was wounded in the Sumy region.

“NEW PHASE OF DEFENCE OPERATION”

In a press conference alongside Sejourne, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba praised the minister’s “important” visit immediately after his appointment, and despite the Russian strikes.

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

He added 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 military support to Ukraine amounts to €3.2 billion, according to a parliamentary report published in November.

France has provided artillery and air defence means to Ukraine, Sejourne said.

“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 two countries had agreed to “work on creating the most favourable conditions for the interaction of our defence companies” including legally.

The day before, Kyiv had seen the visit of British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who announced a new multibillion-dollar aid package for Ukraine and pledged London’s support for a decade.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy hailed the “unprecedented” 10-year security cooperation agreement as well as the £2.5 billion (US$3.2 billion) in new military aid earmarked for 2024.



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