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Request to send French instructors to train Ukrainian soldiers is legitimate, Macron says

French President Emmanuel Macron, right, hugs Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy during a joint press conference, Friday, June 7, 2024
French President Emmanuel Macron, right, hugs Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy during a joint press conference, Friday, June 7, 2024 Copyright Yoan Valat, Pool via AP
Copyright Yoan Valat, Pool via AP
By Euronews with AP
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French President Emmanuel Macron said he wanted Ukraine's EU accession talks to begin 'by the end of the month' and the request to send French instructors to train Ukrainian soldiers in their homeland is a legitimate one.

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French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte welcomed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and his wife Olena Zelenska to to the Elysee Palace in Paris on Friday.

The meeting comes a day after Macron announced that France will provide Ukraine with its Mirage combat aircraft to help the country's defense against Russia's aggression.

Zelenskyy was also in France to seek more Western help as his forces battle to stave off a Russian onslaught near the eastern city of Kharkiv in a war that has become Europe’s biggest conflict since World War II.

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

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

Euronews correspondent Sophia Khatsenkova, reporting from Paris, closely followed Zelenskyy's visit. She noted, "Regarding the crucial question of whether French instructors will be sent to Ukraine to train soldiers, the French President acknowledged that this is a legitimate request."

The French leader also mentioned that he would like to see Ukraine's accession talks with the European Union to start "by the end of the month.

Sending foreign instructors to Ukraine will be a major subject of debate next weekend in Switzerland as more than 100 countries, excluding Russia, will attend a summit hoping to pave the way for peace in Ukraine.

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