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Live: France will send Ukraine armoured vehicles 'by the end of next week'

France said on Sunday it will begin delivering the armoured vehicles it has promised Ukraine in its war against Russia by next weekend. Earlier in the day, European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said in a speech at the Munich Security Conference that the West must provide more military aid to Ukraine and speed up its delivery. Follow our live blog for all the latest developments. All times are Paris time (GMT+1).

2:32pm: Estonian PM says Russia must be held accountable after war

Estonia’s prime minister on Sunday insisted that once the war in Ukraine ends, Russia must be brought to justice for war crimes as well as for the decision to invade its neighbor if it is to have any chance of developing a normal relationship with the West.

Kaja Kallas, whose small Baltic country is the biggest per-capita contributor of military aid to Ukraine, told The Associated Press that the conflict cannot end with a peace deal that carves up the country and doesn’t hold Moscow to account.

“I don’t think there can be any relations as usual with a pariah state that hasn’t really given up the imperialistic goals,” she said on the sidelines of the security conference in Munich. “If we don’t learn this lesson and don’t prosecute the crimes of aggression, the war crimes will just continue.”

1:06pm: Italian PM Meloni to visit Kyiv on Monday to meet Zelensky

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni will travel to Kyiv on Monday to meet Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky, a political source said on Sunday.

Meloni, who took office in October, has said she planned to visit Kyiv before the February 24 anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last year.

Despite friction on the issue within her right-wing ruling coalition and divided public opinion, Meloni has been a firm supporter of Ukraine.

Former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, leader of the conservative Forza Italia party that is part of the country’s ruling coalition, last week said he would not seek a meeting with Zelensky if he were still head of government because he blames the Ukrainian President for the war with Russia.

Italy and France have recently finalised talks over delivery of an advanced air defence system to Kyiv in the spring.

12:18pm: France to send Kyiv armoured vehicles within the week

France said on Sunday it will begin delivering the armoured vehicles it has promised Ukraine in its war against Russia by next weekend.

The vehicles, of the AMX-10 type and sometimes described as “light tanks”, are used for armed reconnaissance and attacks on enemy tanks.

The first vehicles will be sent to Ukraine “by the end of next week”, Defence Minister Sebastien Lecornu told Le Parisien newspaper’s Sunday edition.

He declined to specify the number of vehicles in the first batch, saying he did not want to give Russia any “strategic information”.

12:03pm: Kremlin says West not willing to engage in Ukraine peace efforts

The Kremlin on Sunday said that Western countries have not yet shown they are open or willing to engage in peaceful initiatives to resolve the conflict in Ukraine.

“So far, there is no readiness or openness for peace initiatives on the part of the collective West,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was quoted as saying by the TASS news agency.

11:40am: ‘Without the US, there wouldn’t be a free Ukraine anymore’, Polish PM tells FRANCE 24 

In an interview with FRANCE 24, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said that Poland was in favour of delivering as many weapons as possible to Ukraine – including fighter jets – so that its military would be able to quickly regain Russian-ocuppied territory. 

Full military support for Ukraine could make 2023 a “turning moment” in European history, Morawiecki said. “I do believe that 2023, with our determination, will be the end of the war in Ukraine. And I do believe Ukraine will win that war.”


11:29am: Russia rebukes Macron on comments, references Napoleon 

Russia on Sunday scolded Emmanuel Macron over remarks about Russia’s defeat, saying that Moscow still remembered the fate of Napoleon Bonaparte and accusing the French president of duplicitous diplomacy with the Kremlin.

Macron told paper Le Journal du Dimanche that France wanted Russia to be defeated in Ukraine but had never wanted to “crush” it.

“About ‘never’: France did not begin with Macron, and the remains of Napoleon, revered at the state level, rest in the centre of Paris. France – and Russia – should understand,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said.

“In general, Macron is priceless,” she said, adding that his remarks showed the West had engaged in discussions about regime change in Russia while Macron had repeatedly sought meetings with the Russian leadership.

10:17am: EU’s Borrell supports Estonian proposal for EU joint ammunition purchases

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said on Sunday he supported an Estonian proposal for the EU to buy ammunition on behalf of its members to help Ukraine. Borrell made his comments to the Munich Security Conference after Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas outlined the proposal.

“I completely agree with the Estonian prime minister’s proposal and we are working on that and it will work,” Borrell said.

9:56am: West must provide more military support to Ukraine, says EU’s Borrell

European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said on Sunday the West must provide more military aid to Ukraine and speed up its deliveries.

“Much more has to be done and much quicker. There is still a lot to be done. We have to increase and accelerate our military support,” Borrell said in a speech at the Munich Security Conference.

9:31am: Kremlin scolds US for casting Crimea as legitimate target

The Kremlin on Sunday cast the United States was a “major provocateur” of international tensions for condoning attacks on Crimea, warning that the remarks about the peninsula underscored the depth of disagreement between the two countries.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was responding to comments by US Under Secretary of State Victoria Nuland who said the United States considers that Crimea, which Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014, should be demilitarised and that Washington supports Ukrainian attacks on military targets on the peninsula.

“Nuland belongs to a very broad camp of the most aggressive ‘hawks’ in American politics. This is a point of view we know well,” Peskov said in comments published by the TASS news agency.

5:41am: In meeting, Blinken warns China’s Wang Yi against aiding Russia in Ukraine

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Saturday warned top Chinese diplomat Wang Yi of consequences should China provide material support to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, saying in an interview after the two met that Washington was concerned Beijing was considering supplying weapons to Moscow.

The top diplomats of the two superpowers met at an undisclosed location on the sidelines of a global security conference in Munich, just hours after Wang scolded Washington as “hysterical” in a running dispute over the US downing of a suspected Chinese spy balloon.

5:19am: US seeks Ukraine crisis with claims of crimes against humanity, says Russian envoy 

Russia‘s US ambassador accused the United States of trying to justify its own actions in fomenting the crisis in Ukraine with allegations of Russian crimes against humanity, TASS state news agency said on Sunday.

“We regard such insinuations as an unprecedented attempt to demonise Russia in the framework of the hybrid war unleashed against us,” Ambassador Anatoly Antonov was quoted as saying.

“There is no doubt that the purpose of such attacks by Washington is to justify its own actions to fuel the Ukrainian crisis.”

9:10pm: Macron says Russia must be defeated but not ‘crushed’

French President Emmanuel Macron said in an interview released Saturday that he wanted Russia to be defeated in its war with Ukraine, but did not want to see the country “crushed”.

“I am convinced that, in the end, this will not conclude militarily,” he told two French newspapers and broadcaster France Inter. But while he wanted Russia’s defeat, he did not share the position of those who wanted to see the country crushed.

“I do not think, as some people do, that we must aim for a total defeat of Russia, attacking Russia on its own soil. Those observers want to, above all else, crush Russia. That has never been the position of France and it will never be our position,” Macron said.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP and Reuters)


© France Médias Monde graphic studio


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