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In pictures: Paris's Ukrainians turn out for Klitschko visit

© Photo: Anne-Diandra Louarn

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-03-08

The boxing champion turned opposition leader Vitaly Klitschko visted Paris Friday along with fellow Ukrainian presidential hopeful Petro Poroshenko for a meeting with France’s François Hollande.

Later, the two men, expected to be among the frontrunners when the country elects a new leader on May 25, took part in a public debate on the situation in Ukraine.

More than a hundred Ukrainians living in France as well as French sympathisers gathered in the Saint-Germain-des-Près district to welcome the two men as they arrived for the packed symposium, organised by French intellectual Bernard-Henri Lévy.

After a minute’s silence for those who lost their lives in the Maidan protests that led to the ouster of former president Viktor Yanukovich, the two men delivered passionate speeches on Ukraine’s future and Russian troops’ takeover of the Crimea region.

Klitschko described Moscow’s actions as pure "Soviet propaganda" spurred by “the desire to rebuild an empire where there is no place for those who want to be free”.

Following his meeting with Klitschko, Hollande said the "international community, Europe and France must work to preserve the territorial integrity of Ukraine".

He also warned that it was necessary to prevent a dangerous precedent.

"There are a lot of countries which could get worried if a precedent were set for breaching borders and territorial integrity," Hollande said.

Klitschko shared that view saying that "the instability threatens not only Ukraine but also the whole region".

To support the Ukrainians, Poroshenko called for "using all the sanctions possible" against Russia, saying the solution to the crisis "is not to be found in Kiev, or in Crimea but in Moscow".

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

Date created : 2014-03-08

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