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Zelensky in Berlin and Paris for bilateral security agreements

Photo: Ludovic Marin Agence France-Presse Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron shake hands during a bilateral meeting held in southern Spain on October 5.

Valérie Leroux – Agence France-Presse in Paris

February 15, 2024

  • Europe

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will travel to Berlin and Paris on Friday to sign security agreements intended to guarantee his country long-term military and financial support, at a time when it is struggling to repel Russian aggression.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz will receive the Ukrainian leader in the morning. The signing of the agreement will be followed by a press conference, said a spokesperson for the German government.

Volodymyr Zelensky is then expected in Paris where a similar partnership will be signed late in the afternoon, at the Élysée Palace. His interview with Emmanuel Macron will be followed by a joint press conference and a working dinner.

Almost two years after the start of the Russian offensive, on February 24, 2022, “our determination [to support Ukraine] is there, does not weaken and will not weaken,” insisted a advisor to the French head of state.

“We are also determined to defeat this bet that Russia is making”, which “is banking on the long term, on our weariness”, he insisted.

These agreements follow on from commitments made in G7 format on the sidelines of the NATO Summit in Vilnius in July 2023.

The leaders of the Atlantic Alliance had not then set a timetable for Ukraine's accession, to the great dismay of the latter, but the G7 countries had committed to providing it with “long-term” military support to help it deal with the current Russian offensive and deter Russia from any future attacks against its neighbor.

“War of Numbers”

The UK was the first to reach such an agreement during a visit by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to kyiv on January 12. The countries of the European Union had not yet taken the plunge.

The agreement signed between kyiv and Paris will cover “long-term military support for Ukraine” as well as “economic support and civil assistance to strengthen Ukraine's resilience”, noted the Élysée, without further details.

Its content will be made public during the press conference, as will a summary of the military aid granted by France, regularly judged to be much lower than that of its main partners, which Paris disputes.

“We’re not in the war of numbers. All of this cannot be reduced to figures,” underlined the Élysée, highlighting “the qualitative aspect” of the equipment delivered (cannons, long-range Scalp missiles, Crotale anti-aircraft systems, A2SM surface-to-air missiles, etc. ).

Concretely, these security agreements may concern the granting of military equipment, interoperable with that of NATO, the training of Ukrainian forces and the strengthening of Ukraine's defense industry.

Artillery reinforcements

On the ground, the situation is proving difficult for the Ukrainians who lack men, weapons and ammunition, while a new package of American aid is blocked in Congress.

In this context, kyiv is pressing the EU to increase its deliveries of artillery shells and to “sign long-term contracts with companies” in the Ukrainian defense sector.< /p>

In January, Paris was behind the establishment of an “artillery coalition” aimed at strengthening Ukraine’s capabilities against Russia.

France has itself said it is ready to produce 78 Caesar cannons in 2024 and early 2025 for Ukraine, in addition to the 30 already delivered. Truck-mounted, the Caesar can fire 155mm rounds up to 40 kilometers away.

It also announced the delivery of around fifty A2SM surface-to-air missiles per month in 2024 and new deliveries of around “forty” long-range Scalp missiles.

Olaf Scholz for his part gave the groundbreaking ceremony on Monday for a new shell factory for the manufacturer Rheinmetall which plans to produce, on all its sites in Europe, up to 700,000 artillery shells per year in 2025, compared to 400 to 500,000 this year and 70,000 before the war in Ukraine.

This is the third visit of the Ukrainian president to Paris since the start of the war, after those of February and May 2023.

273 million from Canada for new NATO equipment in Latvia

The Government of Canada is providing $273 million to acquire new military equipment for the Canadian-led NATO battle group in Latvia later this year.

Most of this money will be spent on a short-range air defense system from Saab Canada to defend against fixed-wing aircraft, helicopters and drones. The remaining $46 million will be earmarked for anti-drone equipment.

Latvia shares a border of about 200 kilometers with Russia and another one hundred kilometers long with Belarus, an ally of Russia.

In Brussels, where he is attending the meeting of NATO defense ministers this week, Canadian Minister Bill Blair said that this is the first time that the Canadian Armed Forces will have an air defense capability since 2012.

Mr. Blair will leave Brussels over the next few hours. He will travel to Germany to take part in the Munich Security Conference from Friday to Sunday.

The Canadian Press

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116