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France and Ukraine to sign a security agreement in Paris in the presence of President Zelenskyy

PARIS (AP) — French President Emmanuel Macron will sign a bilateral security agreement with his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, on Friday in Paris to provide “long-term support” to the war-ravaged country which has been battling Russia’s full-scale invasion for nearly two years.

The French presidency said in a statement Thursday that Macron and Zelenskyy’s bilateral meeting in late afternoon will be followed by a news conference and a working dinner at the Elysee presidential palace. It did not release specific details about the agreement.

Macron said earlier this year that France was negotiating a bilateral deal on the model the one Ukraine recently agreed with the United Kingdom, which covers 10 years and provides a package worth 2.5 billion pounds ($3.2 billion) over the next fiscal year. It is the largest the U.K. has given to Ukraine since the war began.

A French official, speaking anonymously because he was not allowed to disclosed the details of the deal, said the agreement aims to “provide long-term support” to Ukraine as well as sending a “message of determination.”

He said it was part of a “collective approach” from the Group of Seven most advanced economies, as per commitments made at a NATO summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, in July.

The Group of Seven then vowed to provide weapons and military equipment, including combat airpower, as well as more military training for Ukraine’s beleaguered army. Zelenskyy asked that these assurances last at least until Ukraine joins NATO.

The French-Ukrainian agreement will include financial and economic support, in addition to military and security commitments, the official said.

This will be Zelenskyy’s third visit to Paris since the Russian invasion, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine almost two years ago, following his trips in February and May 2023.

The French presidency said Macron and Zelenskyy will discuss the situation on the front line, Ukraine’s military, economic and humanitarian needs, as well as negotiations on the country’s efforts to join the European Union, which France fully supports.

Ukraine’s presidential office said Zelenskyy will also visit Germany on Friday, where he will meet with Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Berlin, before traveling to Paris.

On Saturday, he will take part in the Munich Security Conference, where he will hold bilateral meetings on the sidelines, including with U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris, Czech President Petr Pavel, Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, the statement said.

Zelenskyy’s trip also comes after leaders of the 27 European Union countries sealed a deal earlier this month to provide Ukraine with 50 billion euros ($54 billion) in support for its battered economy.

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AP journalist Geir Moulson in Berlin contributed to the story.

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Follow AP’s coverage of the war in Ukraine at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine

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Copyright 2023 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. AP

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