Catherine Colonna’s visit to Odessa
French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna is visiting Odessa today. Arriving a little later than expected due to bombardments, she was to be welcomed on site by her Ukrainian counterpart, Dmytro Kuleba. While Germany and the United States announced Tuesday the sending of heavy tanks to kyiv, this trip, the fourth in Ukraine of the head of French diplomacy, is intended to mark the support of France, while a new Russian offensive is feared. “The very clear objective for Russia is to get into position from the spring, to activate the steamroller and to use the impact of numbers to break the Ukrainian resistance”they say in the entourage of Mme Colonna.
The French minister was to go to a center for displaced Ukrainians from the Kherson region. A site supported by the Quai d’Orsay crisis center and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) funded by France. She will visit an electrical infrastructure destroyed by Russian bombing on January 14.
The minister must also stroll through the old town of Odessa, listed the day before on the list of World Heritage in Danger by Unesco. Finally, she will visit the premises of shipowners CMA CGM and Louis Dreyfus in the port of Odessa, two French groups involved in the export of Ukrainian cereals, under the agreement negotiated this summer under the aegis of the United Nations.
Soon a year after the outbreak of the Russian invasion, Paris considers that Odessa, located on the shores of the Black Sea, remains a strategic city: “If Russia’s objective is really to deprive Ukraine of all access to the sea, one day it will have to go as far as Odessa, knowing, moreover, that it is the gateway to the even stronger destabilization of Moldova, Romania, and the European territory as a whole. »
The French minister was then to leave by road for Chisinau, in order to meet the Moldovan president, Maia Sandu. She will travel to Romania on Friday to meet, among other things, with the Head of State, Klaus Iohannis, and visit the French troops stationed in the country, alongside her Romanian and Dutch counterparts.