A ship carrying 1,000 tonnes of aid has departed for Ukraine from a port in Marseille -- marking France's most significant humanitarian delivery since Russia invaded its smaller neighbour in late February.
The cargo worth €10 million “concretely materialises [France’s] solidarity," French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna said at the port.
“It would have been inconceivable for us to remain indifferent to the fate of the Ukrainian people suffering in their flesh this war.
"A war they did not choose and against which they are resisting with so much courage."
Onboard the ship are 15 fire and rescue vehicles, eight boats, bridges in parts, rescue and clearing equipment, 25 tonnes of medical equipment, and 60,000 food rations, according to the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which coordinates the operation.
The vessel, dubbed "a boat for Ukraine" and sailing under its registered name, the Aknoul, will arrive as tensions ramp up between Russia and the West.
"I say this with some gravity, as Russia renews its aggressive rhetoric, as it organises sham referendums that signal its status as a pariah state, and as unexplained incidents take place in the Baltic Sea,” said Colonna. “Yes, we will have to maintain our commitment over time."
The shipment should arrive at the Romanian port of Constanta in the Black Sea on Tuesday before it heads to Ukraine.