Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky at the Assemblée Nationale in Paris, Friday, June 7, 2024.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky on Friday, June 7, urged the West to do more to achieve a “fair peace” as Ukraine continues to battle the Russian invasion, and expressed confidence that Kyiv would emerge victorious from the conflict.

One day after Western leaders descended on northern France to mark the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings in the Second World War, Zelensky addressed France’s Assemblée Nationale, as US President Joe Biden was to deliver a keynote speech on democracy in Normandy.

Zelensky told the Assemblée in Paris that he hoped a summit hosted by Switzerland later this month on bringing peace to Ukraine would hasten a fair end to the conflict. “The inaugural peace summit could become a format that would bring closer a just end to this war,” Zelensky said. “I am grateful for all you are already doing and it is a lot. But for a fair peace, more must be done.”

He warned that 80 years after the D-Day landings, Europe was “unfortunately no longer a continent of peace” after Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022. “Can [Russian President Vladimir] Putin win this battle?” Zelensky asked. “No. Because you and I have no right to lose.”

Zelensky dismissed the notion there could be peace in Ukraine based on the current front lines, with Russia deep inside Ukrainian territory. “Can this war end on the lines that exist now? No. Because there are no lines for evil: not 80 years ago, not now. And if someone tries to draw temporary lines, it will only give a pause before a new war.”

French Mirage fighters

Kyiv has been pushing Europe to increase military support, with Russia gaining the upper hand on the battlefield in recent months and concerns growing over what a United States led again by former president Donald Trump could mean for the conflict.

Speaking on French television on Thursday, June 6, President Emmanuel Macron announced that Paris would transfer Mirage 2000 fighter jets to Ukraine and train Ukrainian pilots as part of a new military cooperation. Elaborating on this training, he said: “You need normally between five and six months. So by the end of the year there will be pilots. The pilots will be trained in France.”

He said Western allies would consider a request from Ukraine to send military instructors to train its forces on its soil, to meet the growing challenge of building up troop numbers.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Macron’s comments indicated he was ready for France to take a “direct” role in Ukraine conflict.

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Zelensky will hold a bilateral meeting with Biden in Paris, before talks in the afternoon with Macron.

Le Monde with AFP