Zelensky in western Europe

Ukraine ‘can count on France to help win this war’, Macron tells Zelensky in Paris

French President Emmanuel Macron greets Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky upon his arrival at the ?lysée Palace in Paris on February 8, 2023.
French President Emmanuel Macron greets Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky upon his arrival at the ?lysée Palace in Paris on February 8, 2023. ? Emmanuel Dunand, AFP

President Emmanuel Macron said France would stand firmly by Ukraine in its war against Russia as he stood alongside Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz at the ?lysée presidential palace in Paris. The Ukrainian leader’s visit comes hours after he addressed a joint session of the British parliament in London. Follow FRANCE 24's ?blog to see how the day's events unfolded.?All times are Paris time (GMT+1).


This live blog is no longer being updated. For more of our coverage on the war in Ukraine, please click here.

04:00: SpaceX curbed Ukraine's use of Starlink internet for drones

SpaceX has taken steps to?prevent Ukraine's military from using the company's Starlink?satellite internet service for controlling drones in the region?during the country's war with Russia, SpaceX's president said?Wednesday.

SpaceX's Starlink satellite internet service, which has?provided Ukraine's military with broadband communications in its?defense against Russia's military, was "never never meant to be?weaponized," Gwynne Shotwell, SpaceX's president and chief?operating officer, said during a conference in Washington, D.C.

"However, Ukrainians have leveraged it in ways that were?unintentional and not part of any agreement," she said.

Russia has attempted to jam Starlink signals in the region,?though SpaceX countered by hardening the service's software,?Elon Musk, the company's chief executive, has said.

03:00am:?Australia vows to hold Russia accountable for MH17 disaster

Australia on Thursday pledged to hold Russia accountable for shooting down Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, after a team of international investigators halted its probe into the disaster.

The team said there were "strong indications" Russian President Vladimir Putin personally approved supplying the missile system that eventually downed the flight -- but halted the investigation because there was no "conclusive evidence".

The Boeing 777 was shot down over Ukraine in 2014, killing all 298 passengers on board, including 196 Dutch, 43 Malaysians and 38 Australian residents.

Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong and Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus on Thursday said Russia had repeatedly tried to thwart the investigation, making it "impossible" to collect proof.

They added that Australia would "hold Russia to account for its role in the downing of the civilian aircraft".

11:03pm: Ukraine ‘belongs to the European family': Scholz

Europe?will support Ukraine in its war against Russia for as long as necessary, said German Chancellor Olaf Scholz,?adding Ukraine belongs to the European family.

Speaking in Paris alongside President Macron and Ukrainian President Zelensky, Scholz said leaders at an EU summit on Thursday would send a strong signal of solidarity with Kyiv.

"I am taking a clear message to Brussels: Ukraine belongs to the European family," said Scholz.

10:49pm: Ukraine ‘can count on France to win this war’, says Macron

At a joint press conference with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, President Emmanuel Macron said Ukraine can count on France in its war against Russia.

“Russia cannot and must not win this war. As long as Russia continues to attack, we will continue to adapt and moderate the necessary military support to preserve Ukraine and its future,” said Macron.

France is "determined to help Ukraine to victory and the re-establishment of its legitimate rights", said Macron, ahead of a working dinner, adding that Paris would "continue its efforts" to deliver arms to Kyiv.

9:41pm: Ukrainians believe Zelensky ‘won the Brits over’

Reporting from Kyiv, FRANCE 24’s Gulliver Cragg said Ukrainians believe the “extraordinarily warm reception” Zelensky received during his visit to the UK, and his “rousing speech” to British lawmakers earlier Wednesday, have led Ukrainians to believe their leader “won the Brits over”.?

Zelensky is expected to arrive in Paris shortly for talks with French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

French President Emmanuel Macron greets Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky upon his arrival at the ?lysée Palace in Paris on February 8, 2023.
French President Emmanuel Macron greets Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky upon his arrival at the ?lysée Palace in Paris on February 8, 2023. ? Emmanuel Dunand, AFP


8:07pm: Macron has 'changed' since his warning not to 'humiliate' Russia, Zelensky says

French President Emmanuel Macron has "changed" since his comments on not humiliating Russia, President Volodymyr Zelensky said in an interview with a French newspaper ahead of his visit to Paris.

Macron sparked controversy?in June last year when he said it was vital the West did not "humiliate Russia, so that when the fighting stops we can build an exit ramp through diplomatic means".

"I think he has changed, and changed for real this time," Zelensky told Le Figaro. "After all, it is he who paved the way for the delivery of tanks. And he has also supported Ukraine's membership to the EU. I think that was a real signal," Zelensky said.

The interview was published just as Zelensky was to arrive in Paris for his first visit to France since the invasion began almost one year ago.

Zelensky had on occasion showed impatience with Macron, who held frequent telephone talks with President Vladimir Putin even after the invasion.

Responding to Macron's comments at the time, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said that "calls to avoid the humiliation of Russia can only humiliate France".

>> Read more:?Did France surprise Germany by pledging tanks for Ukraine?

7:55pm: UK's Challenger 2 tanks to be deployed in Ukraine 'next month': Sunak

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said the UK's Challenger 2 tanks would be deployed in Ukraine next month.

"The Ukrainian crews who arrived last week will be using Challenger 2 tanks to defend Ukraine sovereign territory next month," Sunak said at a joint press conference with Ukrainian President Zelensky, sticking to the end-of-March target for their deployment previously announced.

6:53pm: Zelensky, Sunak sign ‘declaration of unity’

At a joint press conference with visiting Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said his country is committed to supporting Ukraine.

Speaking after the two leaders signed a declaration of unity, Sunak said Britain has expanded its military training programme with Ukraine.

The UK has already trained 10,000 Ukrainian soldiers over the past six months. More soldiers are now expected in the UK for training, said Sunak.

The British prime minister said?fighter jets were “part of the conversation” about support for Ukraine.

“Nothing is off the table,” he said. "We must arm Ukraine in the short term, but we must bolster Ukraine for the long term.”

6:35pm: Britain to help train Ukrainian pilots on NATO jets,?PM Sunak says

Ukraine's Volodymyr Zelensky and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak gave a joint press conference after talks in Dorset on Wednesday. Sunak pledged to expand British shipments of military equipment, including longer-range capabilities, as well as train Ukrainian pilots on NATO fighter jets.

Ukraine's Volodymyr Zelensky and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak gave a joint press conference after talks in Dorset.
Ukraine's Volodymyr Zelensky and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak gave a joint press conference after talks in Dorset. ? France 24


6:29pm:?Russia warns UK against sending Ukraine fighter jets

Russia's embassy in London has warned Britain against sending fighter jets to Ukraine, saying such a move would have "military and political consequences for the European continent and the entire world", the TASS news agency reported.

Earlier Wednesday, Ukrainian President Zelensky made an impassioned plea for fighter jets in a speech to British lawmakers.

The UK has not pledged fighter jets to Ukraine yet. But London has said it will start training Ukrainian pilots on “NATO-standard fighter jets” within weeks.

5:32pm:?Zelensky issues ‘very clear plea’ to UK, wows lawmakers

Reporting from London, FRANCE 24’s Benedicte Paviot says Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s “main plea” in his speech to British lawmakers “was for what he called modern planes”.

While the UK has not committed to sending Ukraine fighter jets, it has announced plans to start training Ukrainian fighter pilots.

French President Emmanuel Macron greets Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky upon his arrival at the ?lysée Palace in Paris on February 8, 2023.
French President Emmanuel Macron greets Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky upon his arrival at the ?lysée Palace in Paris on February 8, 2023. ? Emmanuel Dunand, AFP


4:49pm:?First battalion of Leopard 2 tanks could reach Ukraine in March-April, says German DM Pistorius

Western partners could deliver the first battalion of Leopard 2 battle tanks to Ukraine in the first three or four months of this year, said German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius during a trip to the Polish capital.

"We could deliver at least one battalion in the first four months of this year – three months maybe – and then we need to proceed as fast as possible of course," Pistorius said, adding that a battalion would consist of about 31 tanks.

4:44pm: UK to start training Ukrainian fighter pilots on NATO jets

Britain wants to start training Ukrainian fighter pilots as soon as possible, said a spokesperson for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

"We are hoping to receive the first Ukrainian pilots for training in the spring, obviously we want it to start as soon as possible," the spokesperson told reporters.

The UK is also exploring the possibility of sending fighter jets to Ukraine, said the prime minister's spokesperson.

"The prime minister has tasked the defence secretary with investigating what jets we might be able to give, but to be clear this is a long-term solution, rather than a short-term capability, which is what Ukraine needs most now," said the spokesperson.

4:15pm: Zelensky meets King Charles III?

President Zelensky has met with Britain's King Charles III at Buckingham Palace shortly after addressing parliament.

The Ukrainian president entered the palace shortly after his address to parliament before emerging around 40 minutes later, according to images shown on British television.


3:37pm: Macron to host Zelensky, Scholz in Paris

In addition to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, French President Emmanuel Macron will also host German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Paris on Wednesday evening, according to a statement from the ?lysée presidential palace.

3:33pm:?Full speech: Zelensky addresses British parliament

For those who missed it, here’s President Zelensky’s full speech before the British upper and lower houses in parliament's Westminster Hall in London:

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky addresses British MPs in Westminster Hall, London on February 8, 2023.
Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky addresses British MPs in Westminster Hall, London on February 8, 2023. ? Stefan Rousseau, AFP


3:15pm:?Zelensky expected in Paris and Brussels

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will arrive in Paris on Wednesday evening following his visit to London, the ?lysée Palace told AFP, confirming previous media reports.

Zelensky is then expected to head to?Brussels for a European Union summit on Thursday.?

2:31pm: Ukrainian victory will deter future aggressors, Zelensky tells UK parliament?

In a rousing speech before both houses of parliament at Westminster Hall in London, Zelensky thanked the British people for their help in Ukraine’s war against the Russian aggressor and pledged that “freedom will win”.

In past wars “evil lost”, Zelensky said, to a round of applause from lawmakers.?

“We know Russia will lose and we we know victory will change the world,″ he added defiantly.

Zelensky urged allies to send Ukraine combat jets, which he said would provide the “wings for freedom”.

He also called for stronger sanctions against Moscow, until “Russia is deprived of any possibility to finance this war".

1:23pm: Germany's Scholz is 'certain' Putin 'will not achieve goals' in Ukraine

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said Wednesday it was clear almost a year on from Russia's invasion of Ukraine that Moscow would not win and assured the war-torn country its future was in the EU.

"(President Vladimir) Putin will not achieve his goals?– not on the battlefield and not through a dictated peace. That much, at least, is certain after a year of war," Scholz said in a speech to parliament.

?"Ukraine belongs to Europe, its future lies in the European Union. And this promise holds true," Scholz said on the eve of a meeting of EU leaders in Brussels.

1:08pm: Sunak says Britain wants a decisive military victory in Ukraine

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said on Wednesday his government wanted to see a decisive military victory on the battlefield this year in Ukraine.

"Our objective remains to ensure a Ukrainian victory in this conflict," Sunak told parliament.

"We will continue to support Ukraine to ensure a decisive military victory on the battlefield this year."

12:40pm: Germany's Scholz criticises 'public competition' to send arms to Ukraine

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Wednesday criticised what he saw as the public competition among some countries over who can deliver more and better weapons to Ukraine, saying it harmed unity among allies.

"We preserve and strengthen this cohesion by first preparing decisions confidentially – and only then communicating them," Scholz told the Bundestag lower house of parliament according to a manuscript of his speech, citing his co-operation with US President Joe Biden on the decision to supply tanks to Ukraine.

"What harms our unity is a public competition to outdo each other along the lines of: battle tanks, submarines, aircraft – who is asking for more?" he added.

12:14pm: UK announces new round of Russia sanctions

The British government on Wednesday announced a fresh round of sanctions targeting Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, a statement said.

Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said the new sanctions on organisations that Russian President Vladimir Putin's military relied on would "accelerate the economic pressure on Putin – undermining his war machine to help Ukraine prevail".

12:05pm: Zelensky arrives in UK

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky arrived in Britain on Wednesday for only his second overseas trip since Russia's invasion began nearly a year ago.

Zelensky, dressed in his trademark olive-green top, was hugged by Sunak after disembarking from a military transport plane at Stansted airport north of London.

12:03pm: Zelensky to visit Brussels on Thursday

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy is to visit Brussels on Thursday, a European Union diplomat said on Wednesday.

Zelenskiy is travelling to London to meet Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and address parliament on Wednesday at a time when Kyiv is urging the West to deliver more weapons to help it drive Russian forces out.

11:54am: King Charles to meet Zelensky during surprise visit

Britain's King Charles will hold an audience with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky during his trip to the United Kingdom on Wednesday, Buckingham Palace said.

Zelensky is scheduled to meet Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and address Britain's parliament, as well as visit King Charles at his London residence.

Zelensky's trip to Britain will be his second foreign visit since Russia invaded Ukraine nearly a year ago, and comes at a time when Kyiv is urging the West for more military support.

10:18am: Russia sanctions create parallel oil market, TotalEnergies CEO says

Western sanctions against Russia are creating a parallel oil market, the chief executive of French oil major TotalEnergies said on Wednesday.

"We had a relatively transparent, well-functioning global oil market .. I understand the political objective, but I don't think we have fully appreciated the consequences," Patrick Pouyanne told reporters after his company posted a record profit for 2022. "There is no longer a unified oil market [...] With all these bans, we are creating a grey market for oil," he said adding that Russia was "without a doubt capable of selling its products elsewhere."

>> French giant TotalEnergies posts record $20.5 million profit amid high oil prices

Unlike rivals such as BP and Shell, TotalEnergies has kept some of its investments in Russia, including the Yamal venture producing liquefied natural gas in Russia's Arctic.

9:50am: Zelensky to visit UK for first time since Russian invasion

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky will Wednesday make his first visit to the UK since the Russian invasion of his country, Britain said, announcing that it would offer fighter jet training to Ukrainian troops.

Zelensky would meet Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and address parliament, Sunak's office said, adding that the UK was planning "to train fighter jet pilots and marines" from the Ukrainian armed forces.

"As part of today's talks, the prime minister will offer to bolster the UK's training offer for Ukrainian troops, including expanding it to fighter jet pilots to ensure Ukraine can defend its skies well into the future," a statement said.

8:14am: Russia says EU price cap exemptions show its oil is still in demand

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said on Wednesday that European Union moves to add what he called "exemptions" to its price cap on oil products showed that Russian oil was still in demand.

"Yesterday we saw another change to the European Union's regulations, the exemptions," he said in comments published by the state-run TASS news agency.

"This once again emphasises that our oil products are in demand in Europe, once European politicians indicated that their actions defy any logic and take such decisions and think how to get out of this situation," he said

7:49am: Moscow intensifies winter assault, Kyiv expects new offensive

Russian forces ramped up a winter assault in eastern Ukraine, bringing tens of thousands of freshly mobilised troops to the battlefield, while Kyiv expected Moscow to broaden its offensive as towns in the northeast and south came under fire.

Ukraine's military said on Tuesday that 1,030 Russian troops were killed over 24 hours, the highest daily toll of the war. The figure could not be independently verified, and Russia has also claimed to have killed large numbers of Ukrainian troops in recent weeks. For its part, Russia said it had inflicted 6,500 Ukrainian casualties in the month of January.

Ukraine national security chief Oleksiy Danilov said in an interview on Tuesday that the Kremlin is expected to target the northeastern Kharkiv or southern Zaporizhzhia regions in a new thrust.

"Attempts at an offensive in either the Kharkiv or Zaporizhzhia direction will of course be made," he told Reuters,

speaking in his office in Kyiv. "How successful they'll be will depend on us."

The Ukraine Armed Forces said on Tuesday evening that more than 30 towns and villages in Kharkiv and 20 communities in Zaporizhzhia came under fire.

? France Médias Monde graphic studio



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