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UKRAINE

Macron vows support for Ukraine ‘for the long term’

French President Emmanuel Macron vowed that the EU's support for Ukraine as it struggles against Russia's invasion would continue "for the long term."

Macron vows support for Ukraine 'for the long term'
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and French President Emmanuel Macron, photographed during Macron's visit to Kyiv in June. Photo by Ludovic MARIN / POOL / AFP

Six months after the conflict erupted, “Our determination has not changed and we are ready to maintain this effort for the long term,” Macron said in a video address to participants in the Crimea Platform conference in Kyiv on Tuesday.

“This destabilisation of the international order and the disruptions that have followed, on the humanitarian level, in terms of energy and food, are the consequences of the choice made by Russia and Russia alone to attack Ukraine on February 24th,” he said.

“Against this there can be no weakness, no spirit of compromise, because it’s a matter of our freedom, for everyone, and of peace everywhere around the world,” Macron added.

Ukraine’s Western allies have supplied Kyiv with billions of dollars’ worth of military equipment and other aid that staved off a quick defeat.

But they are wary of joining the fight directly against the Russian forces that now occupy large parts of Ukraine’s east and south.

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POLITICS

‘A good thing’ for footballers to express values, says France’s PM

France's Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne - speaking in Berlin - said that footballers should be allowed to express their values, amid controversy over FIFA's stance against the 'OneLove' armband on the pitch.

'A good thing' for footballers to express values, says France's PM

“There are rules for what happens on the field but I think it’s a good thing for players to be able to express themselves on the values that we obviously completely share, while respecting the rules of the tournament,” said Borne at a press conference in Berlin on Friday.

Germany’s players made headlines before Wednesday’s shock loss to Japan when the team lined up for their pre-match photo with their hands covering their mouths after FIFA’s threat to sanction players wearing the rainbow-themed armband.

Seven European nations, including Germany, had previously planned for their captains to wear the armband, but backed down over FIFA’s warning.

Following Germany’s action, Wales and the Netherlands have since come out to say they would not mirror the protest.

Borne’s visit to Germany was her first since she was named to her post in May.

Following talks with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, the two leaders signed an agreement for “mutual support” on “guaranteeing their energy supplies”.

Concrete measures outlined in the deal include France sending Germany gas supplies as Berlin seeks to make up for gaping holes in deliveries from Russia.

Germany meanwhile would help France “secure its electricity supplies over winter”, according to the document.

France had since 1981 been a net exporter of electricity to its neighbours because of its nuclear plants. But maintenance issues dogging the plants have left France at risk of power cuts in case of an extremely cold winter.

The two leaders also affirmed their countries’ commitment to backing Ukraine “to the end of” its conflict with invaders Russia.

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