PARIS (AP) — The conflict in Ukraine has even shaken up Bastille Day, a strong political, historic and symbolic occasion in France.

France celebrated its nationwide vacation Thursday with 1000’s of French troops marching down the Champs-Elysees Avenue in Paris alongside allies from Japanese Europe. The parade additionally featured warplanes, army automobiles and a drone in a efficiency exhibiting off France’s would possibly and its army efforts to help Ukraine.

In a Bastille Day nationally televised interview, French President Emmanuel Macron warned his compatriots that the worst conflict that Europe has confronted in many years “will proceed” and defended Europe’s sanctions technique.

“We wish to cease this conflict with out getting concerned on this conflict. On the similar time, we wish to do all the pieces in order that Russia doesn’t win, in order that Ukraine can defend its territory. We don’t need a world conflict,” he mentioned.

The opening of this yr’s Bastille Day parade was designed to reveal France’s dedication to NATO and to European allies touched most intently by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February.

Troops from Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania, Bulgaria and Hungary had been assigned the entrance place, bearing their nationwide flags. Multinational troops deployed in Romania after the Russian invasion of Ukraine marched after them.

The upper-than-usual temperatures baking Paris this week did not deter crowds from watching the parade, surrounded by tight safety.

Younger folks from France’s common nationwide service program stood and applauded because the parade acquired underway, completely happy to be watching the occasion in particular person. Jinnia Tchamo-Kwahou was one in all them, attending for the primary time. She advised The Related Press that the parade was “ fantastic, majestic and spectacular.” The 17-year-old daughter of Cameroonian immigrants mentioned she feels “totally French” and embraces “French Republican values” with out denying her double heritage.

A fighter jet flyover wowed the group with a gap formation that trailed pink, white and blue smoke over the Arc de Triomphe.

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

“Every one in all us was struck by the Ukrainian nation’s ethical power that allowed it to carry on regardless of an initially unfavorable stability of energy,” Macron advised French army brass Wednesday night time.

In his interview Thursday, he warned that Russia might reduce off all gasoline to Europe in protest over 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 a part of a nationwide effort of power “sobriety.”

Macron and different dignitaries presided over Thursday’s occasion by which greater than 6,000 folks and 200 horses of France’s Republican Guard took half, together with 65 planes, 25 helicopters and 181 automobiles.

A Reaper, a classy American fight drone, swooped over the parade for the primary time. Such a drone embodies the modernization of France’s army gear, and was utilized in Niger and elsewhere in Africa’s Sahel area as a part of France’s army operation to defeat jihadists. Drones are additionally a strong image of the Ukraine conflict, the place they’re getting used extra intensively than another conflict up to now.

The motto of this yr’s Bastille occasions, “Share the Flame,” is a reference to France internet hosting the Olympic Video games in 2024. Medal-winning Olympic and Paralympic athletes had been honored on the finish of the parade. The spectacle closes with a nighttime fireworks present set off from the Eiffel Tower.

Bastille Day marks the July 14, 1789, storming of the Bastille jail by offended Paris 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 lately, 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 honored to be a part of the Bastille Day parade employees after fleeing terrorism 16 years in the past.

“My kids, my husband and my mom stay in France,” she advised The AP. “France has change into my residence, offering me safety, work and good pay.”


Alex Turnbull and Angela Charlton in Paris contributed.


Observe AP’s protection of the conflict in Ukraine at

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