The world must brace for a long war between Russia and Ukraine after Moscow launched an invasion of its pro-Western neighbour, French President Emmanuel Macron warned on Saturday.
“I can tell you one thing this morning it is that this war will last,” Macron’s told France’s annual agriculture fair.
“This crisis will last, this war will last and all the crises that come with it will have lasting consequences,” Macron added, warning: “We must be prepared”.
Macron cut short his visit to the agriculture fair, usually one of the main fixtures on the French political calendar, in order to return to dealing with the crisis triggered by the Russian invasion.
“War has returned to Europe, this was chosen unilaterally by President (Vladimir) Putin, with a tragic humanitarian situation, a (Ukrainian) people who are resisting and a Europe that is there and resisting by the side of the Ukrainian people,” said Macron.
Macron has again called an emergency defence council of top ministers and military security officials to discuss the situation in Ukraine which will take place at 1600 GMT, the Elysee said.
With the war and sanctions against Russia risking damage for specific sectors in France, notably the wine industry, Macron vowed a “plan of resilience” to help them cope.
The French leader was a key figure in efforts to avert conflict, repeatedly speaking to Putin and seeking in vain to broker a summit between the Russian leader and US President Joe Biden.
The war has also broken out as the clock ticks down to France’s presidential elections in April.
Macron, who is expected to seek and win a second term, has left the official declaration of his candidacy to the last minute, although he must make a move next week ahead of a March 4 deadline to register.