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In front of the French parliamentarians, Volodymyr Zelensky evokes the motto of the Republic and Jean-Paul Belmondo

The exercise has become ritual, almost mechanical. Almost every day, the Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelensky, speaks by videoconference to foreign parliamentarians to maintain the mobilization of the international community around Ukraine, pounded by the Russian army since the start of the offensive, the February 24. Each time, he appears in what has become his war costume – khaki T-shirt and three-day beard – and then he adapts his speech to the audience.

After the United States, Japan, Canada, Switzerland, Israel, Italy and the European Union, it was France’s turn on Wednesday March 23. Facing the French parliamentarians, Mr. Zelensky appealed to the national motto, liberty, equality, fraternity. “We expect from France, from your leadership, that you can ensure that Russia seeks peace to end this war against freedom, equality and fraternity, against everything that has united Europe , free and diverse”, said the president.

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For the occasion, it was also a question of “Ruins of Verdun”, compared to photos of the Martyrdom of Mariupol. The Ukrainian head of state also mentioned the negotiations conducted for eight years by Germany and France against Russia within the framework of the Normandy format, to try to achieve peace in the Donbass. “All these efforts were crushed by Russian artillery”was sorry Mr. Zelensky.

The presence of French companies in Russia

“Tomorrow will be a month of Ukraine fighting heroically against Russia. We need more help so that freedom does not lose”he continued, calling on French companies, in particular Leroy Merlin, Auchan and Renault, to “leaving the Russian market”. “Principles are worth more than profits”, he insisted. The DIY brand Leroy Merlin is very established in Russia, its second market behind France, with 36,000 employees in this country, who work in one hundred and seven hypermarkets and sixty-two cities. The Auchan chain of stores is also emblematic of mass distribution in Russia, where it operates 231 stores, for a turnover of 3.2 billion euros, or more than 10% of its overall activity.

President Zelensky concluded by referring to another, more unexpected national figure: “We must say goodbye to the war as we said goodbye to Belmondo. » The French actor, who died in September 2021, was very popular in the former USSR.

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