PARIS: French President Emmanuel Macron on Friday lashed out at what he called a “camp of pacifists” and the “spirit of defeat” over Ukraine’s fight against the Russian invasion, vowing Ukrainian resistance would not end with capitulation.

“We know this camp of pacifists. It is the one of capitulators. It’s the spirit of defeat. We are not like this,“ Macron told reporters in Paris alongside Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky, in a thinly veiled jab at his critics including the far-right opposition at home.

He added peace in the conflict could not come through the “capitulation of the side that was attacked”.

“We are for peace in line with international law, but which recognises the legitimate right of a people to resist when it is attacked,“ Macron said.

“This is the only peace that counts. So the pressure we are exerting is on Russia,“ he said.

With a peace summit due in Switzerland later this month, Zelensky said peace had to last.

“It is very important to have a fair and lasting peace. Not for an hour, not for a month, not for a year. Preferably forever.”

- ‘Not alone’ -

Macron also said he wanted to “finalise” the creation of a coalition of military instructors for Ukraine in the coming days.

“We will use the days to come to finalise the largest possible coalition to implement Ukraine’s demand,“ Macron said alongside Zelensky, who had on Thursday attended ceremonies for the 80th anniversary of D-Day in Normandy.

“We want to have a coalition and several of our partners have already given their agreement... We are not alone.”

Zelensky said he was “grateful for this initiative”.

Russian authorities have insisted that French instructors would become a “legitimate target” for Moscow.

“Who would we be to give in to... threats from Russia?” retorted Macron.

France is one of Kyiv’s main Western backers since Russia unleashed its full-scale invasion of its neighbour in February 2022.

French defence group Thales on Friday announced it would sell a second air defence system to Ukraine’s defence ministry, one of Kyiv’s main demands as relentless Russian missile and drone strikes pound its infrastructure and cities.

Macron also said he wanted to speed up Kyiv’s EU accession talks.

“France continues to support Ukraine in all areas including on the European level by seeking to have the effective launch of membership negotiations by the end of the month,“ Macron said, adding that France also wanted an “irreversible path” to NATO membership for Ukraine.

The European Union’s executive told member states earlier on Friday that Ukraine and Moldova had met all the criteria needed to launch negotiations to join the bloc, officials said.

A raft of EU countries are pressing the 27-nation bloc to formally start the talks on June 25 -- after leaders took the landmark decision to open negotiations in December.