French Bastille Day celebrations place Ukraine and its allies centre stage

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Younger individuals from France’s common nationwide service program stood and applauded because the parade received beneath means, completely happy to be watching the occasion in particular person.

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Jinnia Tchamo-Kwahou was considered one of them, attending for the primary time. She mentioned that the parade was “great, majestic and spectacular.”

A fighter jet flyover wowed the gang as its opening formation trailed purple, white and blue smoke over the Arc de Triomphe.

On the eve of Bastille Day, Macron hailed Ukraine’s sudden skill to face as much as Russia’s aggression. He known as for a assessment of France’s navy organisation to make it extra nimble within the face of adjusting threats.

“Every considered one of us was struck by the Ukrainian nation’s ethical power that allowed it to carry on regardless of an initially unfavourable steadiness of energy,” Macron informed French navy brass on Wednesday evening.

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In his interview on Thursday, he warned that Russia may reduce off all fuel to Europe to protest in opposition to Western sanctions.

He mentioned France would work to search out different power sources, however urged the general public to show off unneeded lights and be part of a nationwide effort of power “sobriety.”

“Russia is utilizing power, like it’s utilizing meals, as a weapon of warfare,” he mentioned.

“We must always put together ourselves for the situation the place we now have to go with out all Russian fuel.”

Macron and different dignitaries presided over Thursday’s occasion during which greater than 6000 individuals and 200 horses of France’s Republican Guard took half, together with 65 planes, 25 helicopters and 181 autos.

A Reaper, a complicated American fight drone, swooped over the parade. Such a drone embodies the modernisation of France’s navy tools and was utilized in Niger and elsewhere in Africa’s Sahel area as a part of France’s navy operation to defeat jihadists.

Drones are additionally a robust image of the Ukraine warfare, the place they’re getting used extra intensively than throughout every other warfare so far.

The motto of this yr’s Bastille occasions, Share the Flame, was a reference to France internet hosting the Olympic Video games in 2024. Medal-winning Olympic and Paralympic athletes have been honoured on the finish of the parade.

Bastille Day marks the July 14, 1789, storming of the Bastille jail in Paris by indignant crowds that helped spark the French Revolution and, by extension, a spirit of nationwide unity because of broad rights granted to residents within the ensuing years.

For all of the protests and different tensions France has confronted in recent times, the Bastille Day occasions provide a second of togetherness and celebration.

Priyogika Baddrani, a Sri Lankan refugee who works as a cleaner in Paris, felt honoured to be a part of the Bastille Day parade workers.

“My youngsters, my husband and my mom reside in France,” she mentioned. “France has develop into my dwelling, offering me safety, work and good pay.”

AP, Reuters

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