After Berlin, Ukraine's Zelensky signs French security pact amid Navalny shock | World News - Hindustan Times
close_game
close_game

After Berlin, Ukraine's Zelensky signs French security pact amid Navalny shock

Reuters |
Feb 17, 2024 02:38 AM IST

France's 10-year security pact with Ukraine involves increased arms deliveries, soldier training, and up to €3 billion in military aid for 2024.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy signed a new long-term security pact with France on Friday, after securing a similar deal and aid from Germany, in a tour jolted by news of the death of jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny.

French President Emmanuel Macron and his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskiy shake hands after signing an agreement, February 16, 2024 at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France. (via Reuters)
French President Emmanuel Macron and his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskiy shake hands after signing an agreement, February 16, 2024 at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France. (via Reuters)

Zelenskiy is visiting Germany and France to drum up military assistance at a critical point in the war against Russia, with Ukrainian troops trying to hold back Russian forces closing in on the eastern town of Avdiivka and the United States struggles to pass a "vital" multibillion-dollar military aid package for Ukraine.

HT launches Crick-it, a one stop destination to catch Cricket, anytime, anywhere. Explore now!

"It's an ambitious, very substantive security agreement," Zelenskiy told reporters alongside President Emmanuel Macron. "This is not an alternative to the United States. We are all together and this union is necessary to defeat Russia."

The 10-year security pact with France includes commitments by Paris to deliver more arms, train soldiers and send up to 3 billion euros ($3.2 billion) in military aid to Ukraine in 2024, Macron said, outlining that Paris had offered 1.7 billion euros in 2022 and 2.1 billion euros in 2023.

"Our commitment to Ukraine will not weaken," Macron told a joint news conference, adding that the "Kremlin regime" had entered a new phase that was now clearly showing more aggression towards European countries.

"By helping our Ukrainian partner, we are investing in our security," Macron said.

Zelenskiy, wearing his trademark khaki fatigues, smiled as he shook Macron's hand in the Elysee palace after the two leaders signed the pact, which has been negotiated over the past few months.

German Package

The German security pact, which will last for 10 years, commits Germany to supporting Ukraine with military assistance and hitting Russia with sanctions and export controls, and ensuring that Russian assets remain frozen.

Berlin has also prepared another immediate support package worth 1.13 billion euros that is focused on air defence and artillery.

"The document's importance cannot be overestimated. It makes clear that Germany will continue to support an independent Ukraine in its defence against the Russian invasion," Scholz said.

"And if in the future there is another Russian aggression we have agreed detailed diplomatic, economic and military support," he added.

Zelenskiy said the aid was critical as military supplies from other partners had decreased while Russia had an advantage in artillery on the front line.

News of Navalny's death in a Russian prison broke just before the two leaders were due to speak. Navalny had spent time in Germany recuperating from poisoning with a military-grade nerve agent in Siberia in 2020 before he headed back to Russia.

"I met Navalny here in Berlin when he was trying to recover from the poisoning attack in Germany and also talked to him about the great courage it takes to return to the country," Scholz said.

"And he has probably now paid for this courage with his life," he said.

Shifting Challenges

Zelenskiy landed in Germany as the war with Russia nears its third year. It marks his first foreign trip since he replaced his popular army chief and reshuffled his military command.

Germany was the second Ukrainian ally after Britain to sign a bilateral security deal ensuring support until Ukraine reaches its goal of joining the NATO military alliance.

"A new security architecture for Ukraine, as well as new opportunities. We are making every effort to end the war as soon as possible on fair Ukrainian terms and ensure a lasting peace," Zelenskiy said on social media as he landed in Germany.

Kyiv says the security arrangements with allies would in no way replace its strategic goal of joining NATO.

Zelenskiy was also expected to give a speech at the Munich security conference on Saturday. Several bilateral meetings on the sidelines are planned, including with U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris.

Discover the pivotal moments that shaped India's electoral journey on the Eras section of our exclusive Elections product. Access all content absolutely free on the HT App. Download now!

Get Latest World News, along with Latest News from India at Hindustan Times.
SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Share this article
SHARE
Story Saved
Live Score
OPEN APP
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Tuesday, April 23, 2024
Start 14 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now
Follow Us On