Macron tells Zelensky: French arms deliveries to Ukraine will intensify

French President Emmanuel Macron (left) spoke to Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky by phone. PHOTOS: REUTERS

PARIS (REUTERS) - French President Emmanuel Macron told his Ukrainian counterpart on Tuesday (May 17) that French arms deliveries to Ukraine would intensify in coming days and said France was ready to respond to additional demands for help, the Elysee said.

"(Macron) confirmed that arms shipments from France will continue and gain in intensity in the days and weeks to come," a statement by the Elysee presidential office said after Macron spoke to President Volodymyr Zelensky by telephone.

France last week supplied 13 vehicles for emergency services and has provided 800 tonnes of humanitarian aid since Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine in late February.

The Elysee statement said both presidents spoke of security guarantees that France could provide for Ukraine as part of an international settlement that would respect Ukraine's territorial integrity.

The two leaders also discussed ways of enabling Ukraine to resume blocked grain exports "on which a large part of the world depends".

Macron also said Ukraine's European Union application submitted in the past few weeks, would be examined by EU members at a summit in June, the statement added.

And he repeated an idea he raised last week about creating a new "political community" outside the EU to make it easier to integrate Ukraine.

Zelensky has pointed to the speed with which Ukraine submitted its EU application and called for rapid agreement on granting membership - normally a process conducted over several years.

In presenting his proposal last week, Macron dampened hopes for the ex-Soviet state to secure membership quickly, saying the process would take decades.

Russia this week opposed Ukraine's bid to join the EU, saying it would amount to the same thing as applying for Nato membership.

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