Zelensky to visit Paris for surprise talks with Macron, Scholz – POLITICO

PARIS – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will visit Paris on Wednesday evening for talks with French President Emmanuel Macron, the Elysee Palace said on Wednesday.

Zelensky’s visit to Paris followed a visit to the UK, where he met British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, King Charles III and addressed the UK Parliament. He is expected in Brussels on Thursday.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz will also attend talks with Zelenskiy in Paris

Talks in Paris will focus on Ukraine’s long-term military plans and its weapons needs, according to a French diplomat familiar with the preparations.

“Macron and Zelensky often talk on the phone so there is nothing new to discuss. But it’s different when you meet in person, you can talk about things in more detail,” said the diplomat, who wished to remain anonymous due to French protocol issues.

Zelensky’s European trip comes as Ukraine’s allies plead for more weapons and braces for a possible Russian attack on the anniversary of a full-scale attack on the Kremlin later this month.

In recent days, France has given Ukraine 12 Caesar cannons and said there were no restrictions on sending warplanes to Ukraine, sparking debate over whether sending warplanes to Ukraine would be the next step for Western allies.

The jets are expected to be on the agenda for talks at the Elysee on Wednesday.

In January, French President Emmanuel Macron announced that the French Air Force would fully transition to a fleet of Rafale aircraft. As such, the French armed forces may have older jets – such as Mirages 2000 – potentially available for delivery to Ukraine.