UK, France agree to train Ukrainian marines

The UK and France have agreed to train Ukrainian marines, helping to give Ukraine “a decisive advantage on the battlefield,” British Premier Rishi Sunak said on Friday. At the first summit between France and the UK since 2018, Sunak and French President Emmanuel Macron both confirmed that Friday’s meeting marks “a new beginning.” Speaking at a joint news conference, the two leaders stressed the importance of joint actions to overcome challenges like energy and security, reaffirming unwavering support for Ukraine. “We’ve agreed to train Ukrainian marines, helping to give Ukraine a decisive advantage on the battlefield and for Ukraine to win this war,” Sunak said. UK and France share a “special bond and a special responsibility” when the security of Europe is threatened, he noted, adding that the two countries will always be at the forefront of Europe’s defense. “We left the EU but we didn’t leave Europe,” reiterated Sunak, emphasizing that they want to have a close, cooperative, collaborative relationship with European partners and allies, starting with the nearest neighbor, France: “And today is the first step on that journey. We’re writing a new chapter in this relationship.” On the small boat crossing issue, Sunak said the UK will contribute £480 million (nearly $580 million) over a three-year period in partnership with France to help tackle illegal migrant crossings over the English Channel. “Today we’ve taken our cooperation to an unprecedented level to tackle this shared challenge. We’re announcing a new detention center in northern France, a new command center bringing our enforcement teams together in one place for the first time, and an extra 500 new officers patrolling French beaches.” Additional drones and surveillance technologies, a new coordination center with permanent UK liaison officers, and increased cooperation between the National Crime Agency and its French counterpart are also among the new measures in this regard. “Emanuel and I share the same belief, criminal gangs should not get to decide who comes to our countries,” added Sunak. “From our new Energy Partnership to tackling illegal migration, the UK and France are looking forward to the future – bound by bonds of family, friendship, and solidarity,” Sunak later said on Twitter. We have history that binds us Macron highlighted the need for concrete actions to strengthen ties, reiterating that today is “a new beginning.” “There are two things that nothing can change. … It’s our history and our geography. We have a history that binds us, we have values that underpin our solidarity, friendship between our peoples,” he noted. Macron said that to overcome the illegal crossings issue, there should be close cooperation between not just France and the UK, but also with Western Balkans and the EU. Meanwhile, about a question on a possible deal that would make migrants arriving in the UK be returned to France, Macron said: “We focus on what we have to do in the short run.” On the Russian war on Ukraine, Macron reminded their position, reiterating that they are doing everything so the war does not spread globally. “Russia cannot and must not win this war,” adding they have been helping Ukrainian people militarily, and through economic and humanitarian support from the first day of the war. “We must place our Ukrainian friends in the best possible situation,” he added. Meanwhile, Macron also congratulated Sunak on reaching the deal, Windsor framework, with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. The new legal framework includes a ‘Stormont Brake’ that enables the UK to veto new EU goods laws if they are not backed by both communities in Northern Ireland. According to the British government, a new green lane (the UK internal market scheme) means traders moving goods destined for Northern Ireland will be freed of unnecessary red tape.

Source: Anadolu Agency – English