Western leaders meeting in Paris today for a show of unity over Ukraine have a double mission in mind: sending Vladimir Putin a signal of their determination and reminding any critics at home why Kyiv needs support.

French President Emmanuel Macron is hosting 20 heads of state and government to discuss how best to restate backing for Ukraine as Russian attacks intensify two years after the start of its full-scale invasion.  Further co-ordination on how to ramp up military support with extra weaponry to plug Ukraine’s ammunition shortages will in particular be top of leaders’ minds, though the summit will be short on precise equipment commitments.  The event, with attendees including German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Polish President Andrzej Duda and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, will be the latest attempt to gather momentum, two days after a G7 meeting in Kyiv that several leaders — including Macron — did not attend in person. 

In a sign of the importance of western support, yesterday Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy warned that Ukraine must receive a $60bn US aid package currently stuck in a congressional stand-off within a month, or “our position on the battlefield will be weaker”. Within Europe, support for Kyiv through budget financing, military supplies or favourable trade terms has stoked simmering discontent, including among protesting farmers.