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Ukraine war has rocked the balance of our continent, says Macron

The war in Europe no longer belongs in our history books or our school books. It is here, in front of our eyes, states president in a solemn televised speech

Emmanuel Macron

French President Emmanuel Macron said that the Ukraine war represented a change of an era in Europe Pic: Screenshot / Franceinfo

French President Emmanuel Macron tonight denounced Russia’s war on Ukraine and offered his support to Ukrainians as well as to those contesting the Russian government from within the country during a 14-minute televised speech.
You can read more about the key points he made in our article here.

Below, we have translated some of his key quotes.

“Since President Putin's brutal attack on Ukraine on February 24, Russian forces have been bombing Kiev and besieging the country's most important cities. Hundreds of Ukrainian civilians have already been killed."

“I salute the courage of the Ukrainian people who are resisting under fire and in your name. I send President Zelensky France's fraternal support. He is today, at the head of his courageous people, the face of honour, freedom, and bravery.”

“Not France, nor Europe, nor Ukraine, nor Nato wanted this war. On the contrary, we did everything to avoid it. It is President Putin who, alone and deliberately, reneging on a commitment made to the community of nations, chose war.” 

“There are no Nato troops or bases in Ukraine. This is a lie. Russia is not being attacked, it is the aggressor.” 

“This war is even less, as untenable propaganda would have us believe, a fight against Nazism. That is a lie, an insult to the history of Russia and Ukraine, to the memory of our elders, who fought side by side against Nazism.”

“France and Europe have responded immediately, unanimously and firmly to this flagrant violation of the integrity of the territory and the sovereignty of a European country. First by supporting the Ukrainian people with humanitarian convoys as well as the delivery of material and equipment."

“We have taken swift and proportionate sanctions against Russia and its leaders. The assets of several hundred Russian figures close to the government have been frozen in France and abroad."

“Several major Russian banks have been excluded from international systems, making many transactions impossible, causing the ruble to fall.”

“However, we are not at war with Russia. We know how much we are linked to the great European people, the Russians, who sacrificed so much during World War 2 to save Europe from the abyss. Today we stand with all Russians who, refusing to allow an unworthy war to be waged in their name, have the spirit, responsibility and courage to defend peace and who make this known in Russia and elsewhere."

“The balance of our continent, as well as several aspects of our daily life, have already been rocked by this war."

“Let's make no mistake, these events will not only have immediate consequences in the course of the next few weeks. They are the signs of a change of era. The war in Europe no longer belongs in our history books or our school books. It is here, in front of our eyes."

“Europe must now accept to pay the price of peace, freedom and democracy. It must invest more in order to depend less on other continents and to be able to decide [its own future]."

“The war is also impacting our democratic life and the election campaign that begins in earnest at the end of this week. This campaign will allow for an important democratic debate for the nation, but one that will not prevent us from coming together on the essentials.”

Background information

Russia reported its own military casualties for the first time since the invasion of Ukraine began last week on February 24, stating around 500 of its soldiers have been killed.

Ukrainian President Zelensky claimed the number was 6,000 earlier today. Ukraine has not revealed how many of its soldiers have died. 

The United Nations human rights office said yesterday (March 1) that it had confirmed 136 Ukrainian civilians have died, including 13 children, with a further 400 wounded. It said this number could be much higher. 

Ukraine’s health ministry meanwhile claimed 352 civilians have been killed, including 14 children. 

The UN General Assembly voted earlier this evening to demand Russia stop its invasion of Ukraine. 141 countries voted in favour of this with five against and 35 abstaining. 

Russia, Belarus, Eritrea, North Korea and Syria were the countries who voted against. China and India were among the countries that abstained. 

The vote is not legally binding but can have an influence based on international pressure. 

Meanwhile, officials from Russia and Ukraine are expected to meet for a second round of negotiations in Belarus tomorrow, following unsuccessful talks on Monday (February 28). 

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues, with heavy bombing of Ukraine’s second biggest city Kharkiv. At least 21 people are reported to have died in the past day there. 

Read our coverage of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in chronological order below:

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