France and Germany Stand With Ukraine, and Putin Can Wait

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ODESA, Ukraine — It was late in the day, almost four months after Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, but when the leaders of the European Union’s three largest nations at last journeyed to Kyiv, their intent was clear: to dispel any doubt that they would waver in backing Ukraine’s quest for sovereignty, territorial integrity, freedom and membership in what Chancellor Olaf Scholz of Germany called “the European family.”

The reassurance, which appeared undiluted by any pressure on Ukraine to negotiate with Moscow, was emphatic. The determination to lay to rest any whiff of appeasement of the indiscriminate aggression by President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, which has already taken tens of thousands of lives, appeared paramount.

The insistence last month by President Emmanuel Macron of France that it was important never to cede “to the temptation of humiliation” with respect to Russia had infuriated President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine, who said the French president should not be seeking “a way out for Russia.” In Kyiv on Thursday, Mr. Macron pivoted, expressing effusive support for the Ukrainian cause.

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