Zelenskyy to visit Paris for surprise talks with Macron, Scholz
Ukraine’s president continues whistle-stop tour of Western capitals.
PARIS — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will visit Paris on Wednesday evening for talks with French President Emmanuel Macron, the Elysée Palace said Wednesday.
Zelenskyy’s visit to Paris follows a trip to the U.K., during which he met British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, King Charles III and addressed the U.K. parliament. He is expected in Brussels on Thursday.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz will also attend the talks with Zelenskyy in Paris.
Discussions in Paris will focus on Ukraine’s long-term military plans and their weaponry needs, according to a French diplomat familiar with the preparations.
“Macron and Zelenskyy often speak on the phone so there are no new topics to discuss. But it’s different when you meet in person, you can talk about issues in more detail,” said the diplomat, who wanted to remain anonymous due to French protocol issues.
Zelenskyy’s European tour comes as Ukraine asks allies for more weapons and braces for a possible Russian offensive on the anniversary of the Kremlin’s full-scale invasion later this month.
In recent days, France has given 12 Caesar cannons to Ukraine and has said sending fighter jets to Ukraine was not off-limits, feeding a debate over whether sending warplanes to Ukraine would be the next step for Western allies.
Jets are expected to be on the agenda of discussions at the Elysée on Wednesday.
In January, French President Emmanuel Macron announced that the French air force would transition to a fleet made up entirely of Rafale planes. As such, the French armed forces could have older jets — such as the Mirages 2000 — potentially available to give to Ukraine.