PARIS – French President Emmanuel Macron warned on Monday that the Ukrainian counteroffensive against Russian forces could last « weeks, even months. »
“The counteroffensive has begun. It will be distributed over several weeks and even months. We support it within the limits that we have given ourselves, » Macron said together with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Polish President Andrzej Duda at the Elysee Palace.
Ukrainian forces have stepped up operations over the past two days and announced on Monday evening that they had liberated several villages in the south and east of the country.
« We want [the counteroffensive] be as victorious as possible so that we can then start a period of negotiations in good conditions,” he added.
French, Polish and German leaders met in Paris to discuss Ukraine’s demand for security guarantees and a clear path to NATO membership ahead of the military alliance’s summit in July. However, it emerged on Monday evening that the leaders were sending different signals at a press conference held before a business dinner in Paris.
While Duda called for Ukraine to be given « a clear signal, a clear perspective » on its future NATO membership, Scholz was less forthcoming, noting that the debates were « intense ».
“We have been discussing security guarantees since the beginning of the war… We have made decisions to support Ukraine for as long as necessary. This debate is intense between us, between Germany, France and its US partners, » Scholz said. « We will define [our position] when we have the results of our talks. But… it has to be very concrete.
Earlier this month, Macron called for « strong and tangible » security guarantees to be provided to Ukraine, but stopped short of seeking full NATO membership.
Macron, Scholz and Duda have all pledged that their countries will continue to support Ukraine during the counteroffensive. Scholz told reporters that Germany would support Ukraine « for as long as necessary » and said his country had also set up systems to repair weapons during the current onslaught.
Macron meanwhile said France had « stepped up deliveries » of weapons, ammunition and armored vehicles.