Macron repeats that ground “operations” will “perhaps” be necessary – L’Express

the art of letting others split – LExpress

Russians are voting this Sunday March 17 for the third and final day of a tailor-made ballot intended to triumphantly re-elect Vladimir Putin. Critics of the Russian president, who has been in charge of the country for 24 years, will nevertheless try to make themselves heard, despite warnings from the authorities, by calling on their supporters to come and vote en masse at midday. Initial estimates and the results of a survey by a state institute, Vtsiom, should be known shortly after the closing of the last polling stations, at 7 p.m., in the Kaliningrad enclave.

READ ALSO: Denis Volkov: “The war caused Putin’s popularity to soar in Russia”

The outcome of the vote, in which Vladimir Putin, 71, faces three hand-picked and insignificant candidates, is beyond doubt. The opposition has been decimated by years of repression which has further accelerated with the conflict in Ukraine, the backdrop to these elections. The whole week was marked by deadly strikes and attempted armed incursions from Ukraine into Russian territory.

Information to remember

⇒ Emmanuel Macron reaffirms that ground operations in Ukraine by Westerners might be necessary “at some point”

⇒ Teenage girl killed in strike on Russian town of Belgorod, near Ukraine

⇒ Russian army says it shot down 35 Ukrainian drones the day before the Russian presidential election

Macron reaffirms that “operations on the ground” may be necessary

Emmanuel Macron reaffirmed, in an interview published Saturday evening by The Parisian, that ground operations in Ukraine by the West might be necessary “at some point”. “Perhaps at some point – I don’t want it, I won’t take the initiative – it will be necessary to have operations on the ground, whatever they may be, to counter the Russian forces,” he said. he declared in this interview conducted on Friday, upon his return from Berlin, where he met the German and Polish leaders. “The strength of France is that we can do it,” he added. “Our duty is to prepare for all scenarios,” also indicated the President of the Republic.

READ ALSO: War in Ukraine: Does Macron have the means to scare Putin?

In the German capital, Emmanuel Macron met with Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk in a show of unity between the three countries. The repeated declarations of Emmanuel Macron, who refuses to exclude the sending of ground troops to Ukraine, have sowed disorder among Paris’s allies, Germany in the lead, and aroused almost unanimous disapproval from oppositions in France. .

The French president adds that he gave up a trip to kyiv to go to Berlin on Friday and meet there with Olaf Scholz and Donald Tusk. He assured that he would meet President Volodymyr Zelensky in Ukraine before mid-March, a trip which had already been scheduled once for the month of February and then postponed. He now says his visit will take place in the coming weeks.

Russia: army says it shot down 35 Ukrainian drones

The Russian army claimed this Sunday to have shot down 35 Ukrainian drones flying over several regions of Russia, including Moscow, on the last day of the presidential election. “Air defense systems intercepted and destroyed 35 drones over the territories” of the Moscow, Belgorod, Kaluga, Oriol, Rostov, Yaroslavl, Kursk and Krasnodar regions, the Defense Ministry said.

Russia: teenager killed in strike on town of Belgorod

A 16-year-old girl was killed this Sunday in a strike on the Russian town of Belgorod, the regional governor said. “To our great sadness, a 16-year-old girl was killed,” Vyacheslav Gladkov wrote on Telegram, explaining that the house she was in had caught fire as a result of the attack. His father was also injured, he added. Ukraine has increased attacks against this border area in response to Russian bombings on its territory.

READ ALSO: Elsa Vidal: “We are wrong about how Russian leaders perceive the world”

The governor of the Belgorod region announced on Saturday the closure for the coming days of shopping centers and schools in the city of Belgorod, its capital. “Taking into account the current situation, we have decided that the shopping centers” of Belgorod will be closed on Sunday and Monday, said Vyacheslav Gladkov. Schools will also remain closed Monday and Tuesday in the city, as well as in eight other districts in the region, he said.

Olympic Games-2024: athletes “ready to follow the IOC conditions” will be “welcome” in Paris

All athletes who are “ready to follow the conditions” laid down by the International Olympic Committee will be “welcome” to the Paris Olympic Games, declared Saturday IOC President Thomas Bach, when asked about the case of Russian athletes. On Wednesday, Russian Sports Minister Oleg Matytsin said his country should not “boycott” the Olympics, despite the restrictions imposed on the participation of its athletes in reaction to the offensive in Ukraine.

“We have so many contradictory messages coming from Russia that I am not going to comment on all the opinions that are expressed,” responded Thomas Bach on Saturday, when asked about these statements by Oleg Matytsin. “What we fear […], is that there are statements that are becoming more and more aggressive on the part of Russia and the government of Russia. So, we’ll see what happens,” continued the IOC President, traveling to Chamonix as part of the celebration of the centenary of the first Winter Olympic Games.