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Solidarity with Ukraine: Remarks from the French ambassador

Islamabad, 27 February, 2024 (GNP): Good evening to all, Dear colleagues from Poland, Ukraine and Germany, Dear friends of the diplomatic community, Dear representatives of the media,

Anniversaries must me marked, both happy and sad.

Obviously, today’s gathering is part of the second category.

But this is also an opportunity to remember what’s has been happening in Ukraine during the last 2 years : thousands of deaths, a country devasted by bombardments, including on civilian targets, war crimes.

But also, an obvious failure from the aggressor. The so-called “special operation” was supposed to last a few weeks, because Russia was so sure of its superiority and was so convinced that the Ukrainians would not be able to face this unprovoked invasion. But despising the enemy is never a good idea.

Ukrainians have fought with an extraordinary courage and their first victory is already in the records: They foiled the Russian plan, totally. Russia has lost hundreds of thousands of soldiers – young men and women who have been deceived, who are dead without knowing why it was necessary to invade a neighbor who had done nothing to them. Russian economy is suffering considerably. The Russian military budget absorbs such huge sums that basic public services or infrastructure are neglected and rapidly deteriorate.

The consequences for the rest of the world, especially developing countries, are severe and lasting: increase in the price of gas, oil, wheat, disruption of markets… In Pakistan, as in so many countries, the impact of this conflict is quite significant and penalizing for the populations, particularly for the poorest.

Russia claims it is not isolated but it has never managed to get more than 5 or 6 countries, out of 200, to vote with it in the numerous UN resolutions condemning its aggression against Ukraine.

Also Read: Polish ambassador reaffirms support for Ukraine

Russian aggression strengthened European unity and led to an expansion of NATO. This was probably not an objective of the Special Operation.

Russia is boasting of some tactical victories at the moment but a war is a long-term test, and the Ukrainians have shown that they are ready to do anything to defend their country. Those who support them, including our three countries and all those of the European Union, will remain by their side for as long as it will be necessary.

Military aggressions, sneak attacks, notably cyberattacks, assassinations of opponents – let’s here pay tribute to Alexei Navalny and many others, killed, or imprisoned for years – will change nothing. Nor are attempts to divide us in our support for Ukraine.

For this support is linked to the defense of essential principles for everyone, everywhere in the world: to invade a country without reason, to pretend to enslave its people, is not acceptable. As illegal occupation cannot not be accepted – in Ukraine or elsewhere in the world.

Because, also, the cost of a Russian victory would be infinitely higher, financially and politically, than the support that we will continue to provide to the Ukrainian people. A Russian victory would not only be a defeat for Ukraine and those who support it. This would be terrible news for the world because it would be the victory of the force of violence on the rule of law.

This is the message from 20 European heads of state and government, including the German chancellor and the Polish president, currently meeting in Paris at the invitation of President Macron.

The message is simple and strong: there is no “Ukraine fatigue”,  despite Russian propaganda. There are no divisions among all those who, since the beginning of the aggression, have been on Ukraine’s side. We remain fully united and committed, and we will remain so. We are in fact increasing funds and deliveries to enable Ukrainians to fight to defend their country.

Europeans have a long and tragic experience of conflicts. The three countries of the Weimar Triangle are particularly aware of the cost of wars, invasions and occupation. They also know that ultimately, war is a failure for the aggressor. This painful experience for the peoples of our three countries is a lesson from History, and it is also the reason for our commitment to the Ukrainian people, whose resistance is the admiration of the world.

Thank you, dyakuyu,chourkya.