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Macron says France will provide Ukraine with its Mirage combat aircraft

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, left is greeted by French President Emmanuel Macron, at the international ceremony at Omaha Beach, near Saint-Laurent-sur-Mer.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, left is greeted by French President Emmanuel Macron, at the international ceremony at Omaha Beach, near Saint-Laurent-sur-Mer. Copyright Francois Mori/AP
Copyright Francois Mori/AP
By Euronews with AP
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French President Emmanuel Macron said Ukraine should be allowed to use weapons provided by its Western allies to fend off Russian attacks.

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French President Emmanuel Macron said on Thursday that France will provide Ukraine with its Mirage combat aircraft to be able to defend their country against Russian aggression.

Macron told French public broadcaster he will announce on Friday “a new cooperation with Ukraine and the sale of Mirage 2005, the French-made combat aircraft which will “allow Ukraine to protect its soil, its airspace” against Russian attacks.

France will also start training Ukrainian pilots, Macron said and reiterated that Ukraine should be allowed to use weapons provided by its Western allies to target Russian military targets and “neutralise the points from which (the country) is being attacked.”

Macron spoke after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy joined world leaders in France on Thursday to commemorate the D-Day invasion and seek more Western help even as his forces battled to stave off a Russian onslaught near the eastern city of Kharkiv in Europe’s biggest conflict since World War II.

Zelenskyy and his wife, Olena, attended the 80th anniversary events in Normandy with US President Joe Biden and European leaders who have supported Kyiv’s efforts in the war, now in its third year. He will meet with French officials in Paris on Friday.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and his wife Olena Zelenska, arrive at the international ceremony at Omaha Beach, June 6, 2024.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and his wife Olena Zelenska, arrive at the international ceremony at Omaha Beach, June 6, 2024.AP

Ukraine is fighting to hold back a recent Russian push in eastern areas, including the border regions of Kharkiv and Donetsk. The offensive seeks to exploit Kyiv’s shortages of ammunition and troops along the roughly 1,000-kilometer front line.

Ukraine has framed the conflict as a clash between Western democratic freedom and Russian tyranny. Russia says it is defending itself against a menacing eastward expansion of the NATO military alliance.

Overnight, Ukrainian drones struck an oil refinery and a fuel depot in Russian border regions, officials in the targeted areas said Thursday, in Kyiv’s ongoing effort to disrupt the Kremlin’s war machine.

As part of that effort, NATO allies said they would allow Ukraine to use weapons they deliver to Kyiv to carry out limited attacks inside Russia.

The decision could potentially impede Moscow’s ability to open a new front in the northeastern regions. Ukrainian officials feared a fresh assault was imminent after the May 10 offensive against Kharkiv, in which Moscow’s troops exploited weaknesses and successfully diverted Ukrainian forces.

Ukraine has Washington's permission to use US-supplied weapons to shoot at targets inside Russia, with limitations.

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