French arms deliveries to Ukraine to intensify, says Macron

French president also pledged to assist with any other Ukrainian demands for help

French President Emmanuel Macron and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy pose for a photograph during a meeting in Kyiv weeks before the Russian invasion. AFP
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French President Emmanuel Macron assured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy during a phone conversation on Tuesday that French arms deliveries to Kyiv would intensify in the coming days and that France was ready to respond to additional demands for help.

“[Mr Macron] confirmed that arms shipments from France will continue and gain in intensity in the days and weeks to come,” the Elysee presidential office said in a statement following the call.

Last week, France delivered 13 emergency services vehicles to Ukraine. Since the start of the Russian invasion in February, Paris has provided 800 tonnes of humanitarian aid.

The Elysee statement said both presidents spoke of security guarantees that France could provide for Ukraine as part of an international settlement that would respect Ukraine's territorial integrity.

The two leaders also discussed ways of enabling Ukraine to resume blocked grain exports “on which a large part of the world depends”.

Mr Macron also said Ukraine's European Union application, submitted in a few weeks ago, would be examined by EU members at a summit in June, the statement added.

He also repeated an idea he had raised last week about creating a new “political community” outside the EU to make it easier to integrate Ukraine.

Mr Zelenskyy has pointed to the speed with which Ukraine submitted its EU application and called for rapid agreement on granting membership — normally a process conducted over several years.

In presenting his proposal last week, Mr Macron dampened hopes for the ex-Soviet state to secure membership quickly, saying the process would take decades.

Russia this week opposed Ukraine's bid to join the EU, saying it would amount to the same thing as applying for Nato membership.

Updated: May 17, 2022, 10:10 PM