Time for more Ukraine support, not Russia dialogue, Macron says
MUNICH, Feb 17 (Reuters) - French President Emmanuel Macron appeared on Friday to toughen his stance towards Moscow, urging allies to step up military support for Ukraine to help it push back Russia's invasion since now was not the time for dialogue with Moscow.
Macron has drawn criticism among some NATO allies for delivering mixed messages regarding his policy on the war between Ukraine and Russia, with some considering Paris a weak link in the Western alliance.
On Friday, he sought to straighten the course.
"The time is not for dialogue with Russia," he said in a speech to the Munich Security Conference, adding that Russia's almost one-year-old invasion of its neighbour "had to fail."
He sought to make it clear that, for now, he would be doubling down on French support for Kyiv.
"We absolutely need to intensify our support and our effort to the resistance of the Ukrainian people and its army and help them to launch a counter-offensive which alone can allow credible negotiations, determined by Ukraine, its authorities and its people," he said.
"We are ready today to intensify (our efforts) and we are ready for an extended conflict .. It is the only way to bring Russia back to the table and build a lasting peace."
If Europe is to be in it for the long haul, Macron said, the bloc needs to invest in rearmament, and shift supply chains back to the continent and away from non-EU partners.
He called for the EU to come up with a joint defence investment programme by the summer so that it could look after its own interests.
"If Europe wants to defend Europe it must arm itself, take advantage of NATO inter-operability, but also accelerate its capacity to produce on European soil," he said.
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