France is not in direct war with Russia: Paris

PARIS: Neither France nor its allies are fighting a war against Russia, the French foreign ministry said Thursday, following a Western decision to send heavy tanks to Ukraine to repel the Russian invasion.
“We are not at war with Russia and none of our partners are,” ministry spokeswoman Anne-Claire Legendre said. “The delivery of military equipment does not constitute co-belligerence”.
Legendre spoke after German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock on Wednesday said it was important for Western partners to coordinate military aid to Kyiv.
“The crucial part is we do it together and we do not do the blame game in Europe because we are fighting a war against Russia and not against each other,” she said.
On Wednesday, Germany said it would deliver 14 of its top-of-the-line Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, a much-awaited decision that opens the floodgates for several other European countries armed with Leopards to send their own contributions.
The United States announced it would also provide 31 Abrams tanks. The Kremlin has said Moscow perceives the tank deliveries “as direct involvement in the conflict”.
Besides, Russian Forces fired dozens of missiles at Ukraine on Thursday in a blistering wave of strikes targeting energy infrastructure, a day after Germany and the United States pledged heavy tanks for Kyiv.
The latest wave of attacks came as the Kremlin said Moscow perceived the tank deliveries “as direct involvement in the conflict” and Ukraine conceded it was facing mounting pressure from Russian troops on the eastern front.
On a road near the eastern frontline city of Bakhmut, a team of medics welcomed the long-awaited promise of heavy tanks. “This should have happened sooner, and in bigger quantities,” a doctor called Liza told media, adding that she was “very thankful.”
Since October, Russia has been launching regular mass strikes against energy infrastructure across Ukraine, with temperatures currently near zero degrees Celsius (32 degrees Fahrenheit). –Agencies