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Ukraine war live updates: European ground troops could be sent to Ukraine in future, France says

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European troops on the ground in Ukraine not ‘ruled out,’ Macron says

French President Emmanuel Macron waits for guest arrivals for a conference in support of Ukraine with European leaders and government representatives on February 26, 2024 in Paris, France. 

Chesnot | Getty Images News | Getty Images

French President Emmanuel Macron said Monday that the sending of Western troops to Ukraine has not been “ruled out.”

Speaking after a meeting of European heads of state and other Western officials in Paris, at which more aid to Ukraine was discussed, Macron said the possibility of sending ground troops to Ukraine had been openly discussed but that no decisions were made.

“There is no consensus today to officially, openly, and with endorsement, send troops on the ground. But in terms of dynamics, nothing should be ruled out. We will do everything necessary to ensure that Russia cannot win this war,” Macron said.

The president did not give any further details on which countries could consider sending troops but said France was “not against sending them.”

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Macron said Ukraine’s allies had discussed the need to increase and accelerate military aid and supplies to Kyiv, as well as a need to close sanctions loopholes allowing Russian companies to source components from countries that had imposed European or allied sanctions.

He said the EU would “impose further sanctions on companies and countries that facilitate this circumvention of sanctions.”

— Holly Ellyatt

Zelenskyy says Black Sea grain corridor in doubt without U.S. aid

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy speaks during ‘Ukraine. Year 2024’ conference, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in Kyiv, Ukraine, February 25, 2024.

Valentyn Ogirenko | Reuters

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Monday that without new U.S. military aid his country would be unable to defend a Black Sea shipping corridor that has allowed Kyiv to export millions of tons of grain to global markets, Reuters reported Monday.

Ukraine launched the shipping corridor hugging its western Black Sea coast near Romania and Bulgaria in August, a month after Russia quit a year-long landmark deal – brokered by the United Nations and Turkey – that had allowed the safe Black Sea export of nearly 33 million metric tons of Ukraine grain.

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Ukraine is on track to export all grain from its 2023 harvest despite Russian attacks on Ukrainian ports and infrastructure, Britain’s foreign office said this month.

“We … created the new route in the Black Sea,” Zelenskyy told CNN in an interview, describing the shipping corridor as a “big success” for so far allowing the export of about 30 million tones of grain and other agricultural products.

— Reuters

Hungary votes to approve Sweden’s NATO membership

Hungary on Monday voted to approve Sweden’s NATO accession bid, ending months of diplomatic negotiations and finalizing Stockholm’s membership almost two years after it first applied to join the military alliance.

Members of the governing party led by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban had been opposed to Sweden joining NATO amid the country’s criticism of Hungary’s democracy.

Sweden applied to join NATO in May 2022 following Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, shifting away from its previous policy approach of military non-alignment.

Read the full story here.

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— Karen Gilchrist, Sophie Kiderlin

Ukraine’s Zelenskyy discusses trade, shipping with Bulgarian prime minister

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Bulgarian Prime Minister Nikolai Denkov discussed economic relations and support in a meeting on Monday, Zelenskyy said in a post on social media platform X.

“I appreciate Bulgaria’s support for our efforts to expand trade flows and restore normal shipping in the Black Sea and Danube regions,” Zelenskyy said. “We agreed with Bulgaria to accelerate the development of logistics and infrastructure in our region.”

Infrastructure on the Danube river in the south of Ukraine has been crucial to the country’s grain trade since a previous deal that allowed safe passage for grain and other traded goods through the Black Sea was halted by Russia last year.

— Sophie Kiderlin

Navalny was close to being freed in a prisoner swap, says ally

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, his wife Yulia and brother Oleg take part in a march at Strastnoy Boulevard in memory of Russian politician and opposition leader Boris Nemtsov on his 4th death anniversary in Moscow, Russia on February 24, 2019.

Anadolu | Anadolu | Getty Images

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Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny was close to being freed in a prisoner swap at the time of his death, Maria Pevchikh, a Navalny ally, said on Monday.

Speaking on YouTube, Pevchikh who alleges the Russian authorities murdered Navalny, something they deny said Navalny and two U.S. nationals were in line to be exchanged for Vadim Krasikov, a Russian FSB security service hit man who is serving a life sentence in Germany.

— Reuters

Putin-Erdogan meeting to take place after Russian election

Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet with his Turkish counterpart, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, after the Russian presidential election in mid-March, the Kremlin said Monday.

Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L) with Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) in October 2022.

Anadolu Agency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

“Before the elections, no,” Kremlin Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Monday, when asked when the meeting might take place.

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“But preparations for contacts at the highest level are underway, we have repeatedly stated this,” he said, news agency Interfax reported.

Peskov explained that “these contacts will take place at a time when it best suits the schedules of the two presidents.”

Putin will travel to Turkey for the meeting with Erdogan, a leader who has managed to maintain cordial relations with Russia despite Turkey’s NATO membership.

— Holly Ellyatt

Ukraine confirms retreat from eastern village of Lastochkyne

Ukrainian soldiers ride on an armored military vehicle on a road in Lyman district, Donetsk region, on January 21, 2024, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. 

Roman Pilipey | Afp | Getty Images

Ukraine’s military confirmed Monday the retreat from the village of Lastochkyne in eastern Ukraine, marking another setback on the battlefield two years into the war.

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“Ukrainian Armed Forces units withdrew from the village of Lastochkyne in order to organise defences… and prevent the enemy from advancing further in a western direction,” military spokesperson Dmytro Lykhoviy said on television, Reuters reported.

Russian forces have made several major and minor advances in recent weeks, including the capture of the industrial city of Avdiivka, as well as a couple of smaller settlements to the west of the city.

— Holly Ellyatt

Read CNBC’s previous live coverage here:

Source: CNBC

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