US, France pledge support as Biden warns Russia ‘will not stop’ at Ukraine | Russia-Ukraine war News


The United States and France have both reaffirmed support for Ukraine in its battle against Russia’s invasion during a meeting in the French capital.

Speaking at a joint news conference at the Presidential Elysee Palace in Paris on Saturday, President Joe Biden warned that Vladimir Putin would “not stop” at Ukraine. French President Emmanuel Macron, in turn, hailed his US counterpart’s loyalty to Europe.

“All of Europe will be threatened, we are not going to let that happen,” Biden said during his state visit to France. “The United States is standing strong with Ukraine. We will not, I say it again, walk away.”

Macron then told Biden in front of reporters: “I thank you, Mr President, for being the president of the world’s number one power but doing it with the loyalty of a partner who likes and respects the Europeans.”

The US president has been in France since Wednesday, taking part in commemorations marking the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings that changed the course of World War II.

On Friday, both Biden and Macron met Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Paris, pledging support for Ukraine.

In a statement released by the White House on Saturday, the French and US leaders said they agreed that wider security across the Atlantic was at stake in Russia’s war.

“France and the United States co-chair the artillery coalition at the Ukraine Defense Contact Group and intend to take new steps to provide the necessary support to Ukraine in the current phase and in the longer term,” the statement said, referring to a coalition of about 50 countries that meet regularly to discuss Ukraine’s security needs.

The US and France also reaffirmed their commitments to the “continued provision of political, security, humanitarian, and economic assistance to Ukraine”, the statement said.

US President Joe Biden, right, shakes hands with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, left, as they hold a bilateral meeting at the Intercontinental Hotel in Paris [Saul Loeb/AFP]

Shared goals, diverging strategy

Speaking to Al Jazeera, Former US Ambassador to NATO Kurt Volker said that Washington and Paris both seek “to make sure that Ukraine survives as a sovereign, independent European democracy”.

He added the countries are also unified in their desire to halt “Putin’s ideology of re-establishing an empire and denying the existence of the Ukrainian people”.

However, the former diplomat said that the nations differ on how to carry out their goals.

“The US has been very cautious, has been very concerned about escalation and very concerned about poking Putin,” Volker said.

“Macron, more recently, has been pushing the envelope. He’s been talking about what more can be done to help Ukraine, including the possibility of helping regulate their air defences by having some trainers on the ground in Ukraine.”

Macron on Friday said he had discussed such a plan with NATO leaders, with some agreeing to join the effort. That would be finalised “in the days ahead”, he said.

The US has been staunchly opposed to having any of its personnel on the ground in Ukraine, a position that has remained unchanged since Russia invaded its neighbour in February 2022.

Biden and Macron also discussed their support for using interest earned from frozen Russian assets to help Ukraine, a move that has been met with scepticism from some European G7 allies.

‘We’re still in it’

Ukrainian forces, long outgunned by Russia, have struggled to maintain pressure against Russia along the 1,000-kilometre (621-mile) front line in recent months. That has come as some support from Western allies has flagged.

Still, Kyiv received a boost in recent weeks, with France and Germany at the end of May allowing Ukraine to use the weapons they provided against targets on Russian soil.

The US soon followed suit, giving Ukraine permission to use weapons provided by Washington in Russian territory near Kharkiv.

In Paris on Friday, Biden apologised to Zelenskyy for previous delays in Washington’s aid to Kyiv, stressing that the US is “not going to walk away” from supporting Ukraine.

“We’re still in – completely, thoroughly,” he said.

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