France’s Macron postpones trip to Ukraine

By Thomson Reuters Mar 10, 2024 | 5:26 PM

PARIS (Reuters) – A visit by President Emmanuel Macron to Ukraine should take place in the coming weeks, the French Presidency said on Sunday, the third time a planned trip to the country has been postponed since February.

Macron had initially said he planned go in February to sign a bilateral security accord with President Volodymr Zelenskiy. That was postponed with Zelenskiy eventually coming to Paris to conclude the accord.

Diplomats said a second date had been planned at the start of March before being pushed back to later this week.

“The two heads of state agreed to remain in close contact, notably regarding the president’s visit to Ukraine, which should happen in the coming weeks,” the French presidency said after the two leaders spoke by phone earlier on Sunday.

The postponement comes just days after a Russian missile missed Ukraine’s president and the prime minister of Greece by hundreds of metres (yards) when it slammed into port infrastructure in the Black Sea city of Odesa. Macron had also been due to visit Odesa.

Macron has in recent weeks adopted a tougher position on Russia accusing it of being more aggressive towards France and Europe and vowing that Moscow had to be defeated.

He has called on European allies to do more urgently to help Ukraine and faced a backlash from many Western allies after he said the idea of sending Western troops to Ukraine should not be ruled out.

Two diplomatic sources said the French presidency was considering whether to broaden out the trip to Ukraine to include other Western heads of state to join Macron rather than a simple bilateral trip as an effort to show unity among allies and solidarity with Ukraine.

(Reporting by John Irish; Editing by Sandra Maler)