War in Ukraine Zelensky meets Macron this Friday seven dead

War in Ukraine: Zelensky meets Macron this Friday, seven dead in Belgorod, reinforcements in Avdiivka… Update on the situation

Every day Midi Libre takes stock of the situation in Ukraine. This Thursday, February 15, 2024, discover the latest news surrounding this conflict.

Zelensky was in Paris on Friday to sign a security agreement

France and Ukraine will sign a bilateral security agreement on Friday during a visit to Paris by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, the Elysee Palace said on Thursday. The Ukrainian president will travel to France and Germany on Friday and speak at the Munich Security Conference on Saturday, the Ukrainian presidential office said.

Volodmyr Zelensky's visit to Paris “will be an opportunity for the President of the Republic.” [Emmanuel Macron]“to reaffirm France’s determination to continue to provide unwavering support to Ukraine and the Ukrainian people in the long term and with all its partners,” the Elysée said.

The two leaders will explain the details of the bilateral security agreement they will sign during a press conference. This agreement follows the commitments made in the G7 format on the sidelines of the NATO summit in Vilnius in July 2023, the Elysée recalled. The G7 nations then unveiled a multilateral initiative aimed at providing long-term security assurances to Kiev.

The agreement between France and Ukraine would establish a framework for long-term humanitarian and financial assistance, reconstruction assistance and military support. France could announce a 200 million euro fund for civilian projects by French companies, according to two diplomats familiar with the talks. He will not make any specific financial commitments for arms deliveries to Kiev, which require parliamentary approval, according to diplomatic sources.

Emmanuel Macron, on the other hand, will probably make announcements. France has been criticized by some allies for its reluctance to make its military commitments public. According to a report by the Kiel Institute in Germany, France is the 12th largest donor of civil and military aid to Ukraine, with a total of 1.7 billion euros. French officials consider these calculations biased and emphasize the quality of French-supplied weapons, which are seen as crucial to the Ukrainian war effort.

This will be Volodymyr Zelensky's third visit to Paris since Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, following those in February and May 2023.

The Ukrainian army retreats to “more advantageous positions” in Avdiivka

The Ukrainian army has begun moving troops to “more advantageous positions” in Avdiivka, the target of several Russian attacks in eastern Ukraine, military spokesman Dmytro Lykhoviy said on Thursday.

A logistics route to Avdiivka has been established, but it is “difficult” to supply the city and evacuate residents, the official added in a television interview. “In Avdiivka, a maneuver is underway in some sectors to withdraw our units to more advantageous positions and in some sectors to drive the Russians out of their positions,” Dmytro Lykhoviy said.

For its part, the 3rd Assault Brigade, which took part in the Ukrainian-led summer counteroffensive and the Battle of Bakhmut, announced that it had been sent as reinforcements to the Avdiivka front. “The situation at the time the brigade was deployed was extremely critical,” she said on Telegram.

“The enemy continues the active rotation of its troops (around Avdiivka) and deploys new forces and new equipment in the city,” it added. Russian forces have been trying to take Avdiivka since October. According to Dmytro Lykhoviy, Russia has concentrated around 50,000 soldiers on this front.

Russia says seven people have died in a Ukrainian bomb attack in Belgorod

Seven people, including a 1-year-old child, were killed on Thursday in a Ukrainian bombing in Belgorod, a city in southern Russia near the border with Ukraine, the region's governor said. Vyacheslav Gladkov added that 18 other people, including four children, were injured in the attack.

Six people are in serious condition. Four people, including two children, have been discharged from hospital, the governor added. “We all mourn with the families and friends of the victims,” Vyacheslav Gladkov wrote on Telegram. “I would like to express my sincere condolences and am aware that there are no words that can ease this pain.” Ukrainian authorities did not immediately respond.

Belgorod and its region have been the target of frequent attacks following Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. Russian authorities said 25 civilians were killed in the largest attack in late December. The governor of the neighboring Kursk region, Roman Starovoit, said a shopping center, an outdoor sports complex and residential areas were hit. “The enemy is deliberately attacking a group of civilians,” he commented.

In a video published by Russian media, Belgorod Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov can be seen arriving in front of the Magnit store, whose windows were almost all broken. Other images show residential complexes with blown-out windows and emergency services helping the injured at an outdoor sports facility.

The Russian Defense Ministry said its air defense systems shot down 14 Ukrainian missiles over the Belgorod region.