Zelenskyy calls for fighter jets "as soon as possible" in Paris talks

President Zelenskyy, Emmanuel Macron and Olaf Scholz at the Elysee presidential palace, 8 February 2023
President Zelenskyy, Emmanuel Macron and Olaf Scholz at the Elysee presidential palace, 8 February 2023 Copyright AFP
By Euronews with Reuters
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The Ukrainian president had a late Wednesday dinner with Emmanuel Macron and Olaf Scholz.

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called on his country's allies to deliver fighter jets "as soon as possible."

He made the comments in Paris on Wednesday evening after flying from London for a trilateral meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. 

Earlier, he had the same request for British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak during a day-long visit to London, as part of a surprise European tour. 

Ahead of the first anniversary of Vladimir Putin's 24 February 2022 invasion, the Ukrainian leader was welcomed at the Elysée Palace for a late dinner and talks. 

"We have very little time," the Ukrainian president told journalists at the Elysée Palace. 

"The sooner Ukraine gets long-range heavy weaponry, the sooner our pilots get planes, the sooner this Russian aggression will end and we could return to peace in Europe," he added on this whirlwind leg of a trip kept secret until the last moment.

Zelenskyy also assured Chancellor Scholz that providing Leopard 2 heavy tanks to Ukraine, but who is against sending fighter planes, that it was the "most rational choice today." 

"We stand by Ukraine", said Emmanuel Macron, "with the determination to accompany it towards victory and the restoration of its legitimate rights."

The French President also said he wanted to "build peace" with Volodymyr Zelenskyy, in particular through an "international conference" involving "the maximum number of partners".

The Paris dinner contrasted with the pomp and circumstance of the British visit, where the Ukrainian president addressed parliament in the grandiose setting of Westminster Hall, which has hosted rare foreign leaders such as France's Charles de Gaulle in 1960, but also the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II in September last year.

"We know that freedom will win, we know that Russia will lose," the Ukrainian leader insisted in London.

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