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France to step up military presence in eastern Europe as war in Ukraine intensifies

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France will step up its military presence in eastern Europe, with plans to deploy additional Rafale fighter jets in Lithuania and additional armored vehicles and tanks in Romania, as the war in Ukraine intensifies, the office of the defense minister said on Tuesday.

Paris also plans to deploy additional infantry troops to Estonia, it said in a statement as Defense Minister Sebastien Lecornu presented the army’s draft budget to lawmakers.

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Earlier on Tuesday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy asked the leaders of the Group of Seven (G7) nations for more air defense capabilities to stop Russia, and to back his initiative for an international observer mission on the Belarusian border.

Joining the G7 leaders’ virtual meeting a day after missiles rained down on Ukrainian cities including the capital Kyiv, Zelenskyy called for tough new sanctions on Moscow and again ruled out talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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Zelenskyy asks G7 for more air defenses, support for Belarus border mission

European weapons manufacturers scramble to meet soaring demand for war in Ukraine

Belarus says troops deployed alongside Russian forces is ‘purely defensive’

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