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Thursday June 13, 2024

Ukraine should be allowed to ‘neutralise’ Russian military bases: Macron

By AFP
May 29, 2024
French President Emmanuel Macron, left, and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz arrive with fellow ministers for a family photo at the end of a joint Franco-German cabinet meeting of ministers in front of Schloss Meseberg Palace in Meseberg near Berlin, on May 28, 2024. — AFP
French President Emmanuel Macron, left, and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz arrive with fellow ministers for a family photo at the end of a joint Franco-German cabinet meeting of ministers in front of Schloss Meseberg Palace in Meseberg near Berlin, on May 28, 2024. — AFP

MESEBERG, Germany: Kyiv should be allowed to “neutralise” Russian military bases from where Moscow troops are firing missiles into Ukraine, France´s President Emmanuel Macron said on Tuesday.

“We think that we should allow them to neutralise military sites where missiles are fired, from where ... Ukraine is attacked,” said Macron.

He stressed however that “we should not allow them to touch other targets in Russia, and obviously civilian capacities”.

His comments -- on a state visit to Germany, during a press conference alongside Chancellor Olaf Scholz -- come as calls grow to allow Ukraine to strike inside Russia using Western-supplied longer-range weapons.

But the issue has divided Kyiv´s allies.

Germany has been reluctant to permit Ukraine to strike over the border, fearing it could lead to a direct conflict with nuclear-armed Moscow.

The United States, Ukraine´s biggest supplier of military aid, has also taken a similar stance.

Macron´s more strident tone towards Russia has been a source of tension in his relationship with Scholz in recent times -- Berlin was taken aback by his refusal to rule out sending troops to Ukraine.

Zelensky has labelled the Western restrictions on the use of weapons as “unfair”, at a time Ukraine is struggling to hold back a Russian ground offensive in the Kharkiv region.

The Ukrainian leader has been on a whistlestop tour of several European capitals to rally Western support, and Macron announced Tuesday that Zelensky will attend a ceremony next week in France to mark the 80th anniversary of D-Day.