France confirms volunteer fighter killed in Ukraine

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A French volunteer fighter in Ukraine has been killed in combat, Paris confirmed on Friday following reports that the man died in artillery fire in the Kharkiv region.

"We are aware of the sad news that a French citizen has been fatally wounded during combat in Ukraine," a foreign ministry spokesperson said.

"We remind everyone that the whole of Ukraine is a war zone. In this regard, travel to Ukraine is formally advised against, for whatever reason."

The Europe 1 radio station reported Thursday that the young man had joined a foreign defence unit in Ukraine and was fighting around Kharkiv, a north-eastern city which has been shelled heavily by Russian forces but remains in Ukrainian hands.

Many foreign fighters have responded to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's appeal for volunteers to come and repel invading Russian forces.

The Ukrainian government put their number at around 20,000 in March, though the figure has not been independently verified.

The death was the first time a French fighter has been killed in the war, Europe 1 reported.

On 30 August, another French citizen was killed in Ukraine. 32-year-old Frederic Leclerc-Imhoff, who worked for the 24-hour news channel BFMTV and was covering an evacuation operation near the eastern city of Severodonetsk when he was mortally wounded by shrapnel.

"Historic error"

Meanwhile, French President Emmanuel Macron on Friday said his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin had committed a "historic and fundamental error" by invading Ukraine and was now "isolated".

"I think, and I told him, that he made a historic and fundamental error for his people, for himself and for history," he said in an interview with French regional media.

"I think he has isolated himself," Macron said. "Isolating oneself is one thing, but being able to get out of it is a difficult path".

The French president repeated that Russia should not be "humiliated... so that the day the fighting stops we can pave a way out through diplomatic means."

Macron also said he did not "rule out" a visit to Kyiv.

(With wires)

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