At Paris Gathering, Western Leaders to Show Unity for Ukraine and Signal ‘Russia Cannot Win’

February 26, 2024by Sylvie Corbet, Associated Press
At Paris Gathering, Western Leaders to Show Unity for Ukraine and Signal ‘Russia Cannot Win’
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy answers media questions during his press conference in Kyiv, Ukraine, Sunday Feb. 25, 2024. (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka)

PARIS (AP) — More than 20 European heads of state and government and other Western officials are gathering in a show of unity for Ukraine, signaling to Russia that their support for Kyiv isn’t wavering as the full-scale invasion grinds into a third year.

French President Emmanuel Macron, hosting the conference Monday in Paris, said he wants to discuss strengthening aid and ways to “give credibility to the fact that Russia cannot win in Ukraine.”

“We are at a critical moment,” Macron said this weekend.

“With Ukraine having limited resources, we must reinforce the munitions, the military resources, what we send,” he said. “But we must also think about how we manage this effort over time and how we ensure that Russia does not win.”

A top French official said the conference isn’t aimed at making new commitments in terms of weapon deliveries and financial aid, but rather at better coordinating support for Kyiv and ensuring that aid promises are kept. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the conference details and goals.

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is expected to attend via videoconference, Macron’s office said. The more than 20 European heads of state and government include German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Polish President Andrzej Duda. The United States will be represented by its top diplomat for Europe, James O’Brien, and the U.K. by Foreign Secretary David Cameron.

European nations are worried the U.S. will dial back support as aid for Kyiv is teetering in Congress. They also have growing concerns that former U.S. President Donald Trump might return to the White House and allow Russia to expand its aggression on the continent.

The Paris conference comes after France, Germany and the U.K. recently signed 10-year bilateral agreements with Ukraine to send a strong signal of long-term backing as Kyiv works to shore up Western support.

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Associated Press writer John Leicester contributed to this report.

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