Twenty European leaders in Paris at a conference on Ukraine

Photo: Pexels / Thorsten technoman

Some 20 European leaders will meet in Paris today to send a message to Russian President Vladimir Putin for a European solution to the conflict in Ukraine and refute Kremlin claims that Russia will win the two-year war, the Elysee Palace said.

French President Emmanuel Macron has invited his European counterparts to the Elysee Palace for a hastily arranged working meeting due to the escalation of Russian aggression in the past few weeks, Macron's advisers said.

- We want to send a very clear message to Putin that he will not win in Ukraine. Our goal is to destroy the idea that he wants to instill in us, that he will win, said an adviser to the French president.

After initial successes in pushing back the Russian army, Ukraine suffered defeats on the eastern front, with its generals complaining of a lack of weapons and troops.

The presence of German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, British Foreign Minister David Cameron, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, as well as leaders from the Nordic and Baltic countries has been announced at the conference. The USA will be represented by Jim O'Brien, Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, and Canada by Defense Minister Bill Blair.

French officials said a security conference in Munich earlier this month, which coincided with the death of Putin's Russian adversary Alexei Navalny, was marked by "pessimism and despair" and that Macron wants to counter that.

- We are neither pessimists nor desperate. We want Russia to understand that, the French adviser said, adding that the meeting will not be an occasion to announce new arms deliveries to Ukraine, but rather to discuss ways to work more effectively on the ground, as well as to strengthen coordination between allies and Ukraine.

French officials said Russia's aggressiveness had expanded in recent weeks with new actions, such as Putin's flight of a nuclear-capable bomber. This, according to France, is an attempt to scare the Europeans at a time when the support of the United States is in question in connection with the presidential elections.

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