French President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday strongly condemned Russia's military action against Ukraine and vowed that Paris would work with allies to try to end the conflict.
"Russia must immediately put an end to its military operations," Macron wrote on Twitter, saying Russia had made the decision to "wage war" on Ukraine.
"France stands in solidarity with Ukraine. It stands by Ukrainians and is working with its partners and allies to end the war," he added.
Macron had repeatedly spoken to President Vladimir Putin seeking a diplomatic solution to the standoff but to no avail.
After frenetic telephone talks at the weekend, he has not spoken to the Russian leader since Putin on Monday recognised two Ukrainian breakaway regions as independent.
Before Putin announced the "special military operation" in the early hours of Thursday, Macron spoke to Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky late Wednesday, emphasising the importance of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity, the Elysee said.
He vowed that France would continue to help Ukraine financially and economically and supply "defensive equipment," the French presidency said in a statement.
In another call with Macron Thursday, Zelensky called for European "unity" in the face of the Ukrainian attack, and called for "many interventions" to aid Ukraine, while Macron assured Ukraine of France's "support and solidarity," it said.
A French defence council meeting, headed by Macron and featuring a small number of cabinet members, was to get underway early Thursday, Macron's office also said.
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