France's foreign ministry has summoned Russia's ambassador over French aid workers killed in Ukraine

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French Prime Minister Gabriel Attal talks to the media at a meeting with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Berlin, Germany, Monday, Feb. 5., 2024.(AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

PARIS – The French government summoned Russia’s ambassador for talks Monday over the killing of two French citizens working for nongovernmental organizations in Ukraine, and promised sustained support for the Ukrainian military in its effort to push back Russian forces.

The humanitarian workers were killed in Russian strikes on Thursday near a front line of fighting in the war in Ukraine north of the Dnipro River, in the town of Beryslav in the southern Kherson region. Three other French nationals were wounded.

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French President Emmanuel Macron, who is expected to visit Kyiv in the next few weeks, denounced the attack as “cowardly and outrageous.”

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova in a statement Monday said that “people being killed is always a tragedy,” adding, however, that “specific details of this incident ... are unknown to us.”

She also blamed France for fueling the conflict in Ukraine by supplying Kyiv with weapons and training its soldiers.

French Prime Minister Gabriel Attal pledged to ‘’amplify″ arms shipments to Ukraine, saying, ‘’We are talking of the simple right (for Ukrainians) to defend themselves.''

He spoke at a meeting in Berlin with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who called last week for other European countries to step up with more weapons deliveries for Ukraine, declaring that “it can’t be down to Germany alone.”

Macron announced plans last month to deliver more long-range cruise missiles as well as bombs to Ukraine, though France's military aid has lagged behind those of some other allies.

Scholz said Russian President Vladimir Putin is ‘’hoping that at some point we won’t want to carry on. And the message directed to him very clearly from the U.S. and Europe must be that won’t work out, we will support Ukraine.”

The French foreign ministry said officials would use the summoning of Russian Ambassador Alexey Meshkov to “denounce the resurgence of disinformation targeting France.”

France’s government has accused Russia of operating a long-running online manipulation campaign, including impersonating the websites of leading French media and the French Foreign Ministry, aimed at spreading confusion and false information about the war in Ukraine.


Associated Press writer Geir Moulson in Berlin contributed.


Follow the AP’s coverage of the war at

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