Zelenskyy Travels To Paris, Berlin To Sign Bilateral Security Deals


By Théo Bourgery-Gonse

(EurActiv) — Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is set to meet his German and French counterparts on Friday (16 February) to sign bilateral security arrangements following up on their G7 July commitments, as Russia’s war against the country enters its third year.

Last July, G7 leaders announced they would sign bilateral and multilateral deals on security arrangements with Ukraine, to answer the country’s continued request for commitment to long-term military support for Kyiv from Western allies.

Six months later, France and Germany are the second and third countries to confirm their deals are ready to see the light of day.

Zelenskyy is expected in both capitals on Friday to sign the agreements, before heading to attend the annual high-level Munich Security Conference over the weekend.

When France’s President Emmanuel Macron announced the French deal was in the making at a press conference in January, he warned that Russia’s aggression war in Ukraine was the “most significant risk” to global order.

Germany’s Scholz also confirmed a deal would be “finalised” in a press conference on 24 January.

The UK was the first to reveal such a security guarantee agreement in mid-January, effective for ten years, a time by which Ukraine hopes to have become a full-fledged member of the NATO military alliance – despite its path being covered with hurdles.

The EU is also working on providing Kyiv with a long-term support package, which includes the already greenlighted €50 billion in financial aid, while negotiations are ongoing between Kyiv and other EU capitals to agree new military support – and talks are also on with Washington.

Enacting the G7 declarations

The French security arrangement will aim to give “military support for Ukraine over the long run to help the country defend itself, and prevent any future aggression”, the Elysée explained, despite not giving specific details.

It should also include provisions on economic support and civil assistance to the war-torn country, and may include dedicated budget lines to see the commitments through.

The specific contours of the deal remain unclear for now, though it should “espouse the Vilnius G7 declaration”, the Elysée said.

The declaration commits to formalising deals on issues as wide as security assistance, uplifting the country’s defence industrial base, strengthening its economic base, and providing technical and financial support.

Germany’s government has also restrained from sharing details. 

German news agency DPA reported that the signature of a deal between Zelenskyy and Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Friday is “expected”.

Macron in January announced he would travel to Ukraine in February, although exact dates have not yet been communicated. The Elysée, earlier this week, denied the delay has emerged due to security concerns on the ground.

Paris also committed last month to delivering 40 new long-range SCALP missiles, “hundreds” of air-to-surface AASM bombs and a new batch of French-made CEASAR guns. It is unclear whether the delivery will be discussed between both leaders in Paris on Friday.


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