President Emmanuel Macron of France on Wednesday called on Europe to ramp up support for Kyiv, saying he hoped for a Ukrainian victory over Russia, but emphasized that the conflict would eventually have to end at the negotiating table.
“We are at a moment when we Europeans need to send clear political signals to Ukraine and the Ukrainian people in a context where they have been heroically resisting for several months,” Mr. Macron said at an air base in Romania, where he visited French troops stationed there as part of NATO’s deployment of forces on Europe’s eastern flank.
He did not confirm reports that he and the leaders of Germany and Italy were planning their first visit to Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, since the war began.
As the war in Ukraine enters its fourth month and Russia slowly makes gains in the eastern Donbas region, Ukraine has increasingly implored Western nations to send more heavy weapons to fend off the Russian onslaught. Some Western nations, including France, Italy and Germany, have grown worried about a protracted and costly conflict.
The Ukrainian government and some in Eastern Europe who support a hard line on Russia have criticized Mr. Macron for urging, in remarks this month, that Moscow not be “humiliated” in order to improve the chances for diplomacy.
On Wednesday, Mr. Macron appeared to try to assuage criticism that he was placing pressure on Kyiv to enter into peace talks. He said that France and Europe would continue to provide financial, military and humanitarian aid to support a Ukrainian victory.
“At some point, when we will have done our maximum to help Ukraine resist — when, as is my wish, it will have won and the firing has ceased — we will have to negotiate,” said Mr. Macron, who also met on Wednesday with Klaus Iohannis, his Romanian counterpart.
“The president of Ukraine and its leaders will have to negotiate with Russia, and we Europeans will be around that table, bringing security guarantees.”