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Macron praises Ukraine heroism on first trip to country since invasion

He said that Ukraine ‘must prevail’ in its opposition to Russia’s attack

French President Emmanuel Macron visited Ukraine on June 16 to meet with his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky Pic: Victor Joly / Shutterstock

On a visit to Ukraine today (June 16) French President Emmanuel Macron praised the heroics of resistance fighters who have opposed the Russian invasion. 

It is the first time that Mr Macron has visited Ukraine since the invasion on February 24. 

He has been criticised by some in Ukraine for a series of phone calls with Russian President Vladimir Putin, which many feel are not useful, and also for a comment in which he said that Russia must not be “humiliated in Ukraine” so that “when the fighting stops we can build an exit ramp through diplomatic means”. 

Read more: ‘Macroner’: The new Ukrainian word for French president’s Putin calls

Mr Macron, who has a wider role as France currently holds the presidency of the Council of the European Union, arrived in Ukraine earlier today along with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi. He said the visit was a “message of European unity addressed to Ukrainian men and women”.

“[We have come] to talk about both the present and the future since the coming weeks, we know, will be very difficult,” he said. 

The three leaders were later joined by Romanian President Klaus Iohannis for a tour around the war-scarred city of Irpin, which is just outside the country’s capital Kyiv. 

Mr Macron posted a video of the bombed city and said:

“We saw the devastated city and the scars of barbarism. And the heroism, too, of the Ukrainian men and women who stopped the Russian army as it descended on Kiev. Ukraine is resisting. It must be able to prevail.”

The leaders, including Mr Macron, are meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky for a series of discussions. 

Mr Zelensky earlier accepted an invitation by Mr Scholz to participate in the next G7 meeting, to be held in Germany at the end of June. 

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