The Eiffel Tower in Paris was lit up in the blue and yellow of Ukraine's flag to mark the one-year anniversary of Russia's invasion ©Getty Images

Iconic Paris landmark the Eiffel Tower has been lit up in the blue and yellow colours of Ukraine to express the city's support for Ukraine on the first anniversary of Russia's full-scale invasion, while France was among 141 countries who called for an end to the war at the United Nations (UN).

The French capital Paris is set to stage next year's Olympic and Paralympic Games, with the build-up increasingly centring on the debate over whether Russian and Belarusian athletes should be permitted to attend.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is exploring a pathway for their return to international sport under "strict conditions" of neutrality, having recommended their exclusion from competitions since the escalation of the war last year.

This has sparked a furious reaction in Ukraine, and a group of 30 nations have expressed concerns and called for greater clarity from the IOC.

The Eiffel Tower, a landmark frequently used by Paris 2024 in its promotion of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, was lit up in the blue and yellow of the Ukrainian flag last night.

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo used the hashtag "Stand With Ukraine" on Twitter alongside a video of the Eiffel Tower, and said the city is "forever in solidarity with Ukraine and Kyiv".

"A year ago, Russia declared war on the Ukrainian people," Hidalgo said.

"Since then, the horror has continued to shatter lives, destroy their country and force them into exile."

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, centre, was joined by Ukraine's Ambassador in France Vadym Omelchenko, left, and expressed her continued support for the Ukrainian people ©Getty Images
Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, centre, was joined by Ukraine's Ambassador in France Vadym Omelchenko, left, and expressed her continued support for the Ukrainian people ©Getty Images

Hidalgo has been a high-profile opponent of the IOC's hopes for Russian and Belarusian inclusion at Paris 2024, a stance she underlined on a visit to Ukraine's capital Kyiv earlier this month.

She was joined by Ukraine's Ambassador in France Vadym Omelchenko in Paris on the night of the one-year anniversary of the invasion.

Omelchenko thanked Paris and Hidalgo for the symbolic nature of the occasion.

"A great gesture, like everything France does to support the people [of Ukriane]," he said.

"These lights of solidarity will be seen until Ukraine, and they will overcome the darkness."

Rallies and other events in support of Ukraine were held in other major European cities, including London, Berlin, Rome and Warsaw.

The UN General Assembly also voted to condemn the invasion of Ukraine, with 141 nations voting in favour of the motion, 32 abstaining and seven voting against.

The French Government led by Emmanuel Macron has insisted a decision on Russian and Belarusian participation at Paris 2024 must be taken by the summer of 2023, but acknowledged that the final verdict rests with the IOC.

Macron faced criticism from Kyiv last year after claiming that Russia would need security guarantees as part of future negotiations to end the war, and he appears to have taken a softer stance towards Vladimir Putin than many of his Western counterparts, although France has backed European Union sanctions against Russia and provided military aid to Ukraine.

He has also been cited by the IOC President Thomas Bach in outlining the organisation's stance, who has claimed he supports "athletes from all countries, sometimes including countries at war" being able to compete at major events.

The UN resolution urged Russia to withdraw troops from Ukraine, and reaffirmed support for Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity, after Moscow illegally annexed four regions of its neighbour in September.

Russia's annexation of the Crimean Peninsula in 2014 is also largely unrecognised by the international community.

Belarus - Russia's main ally in the conflict - North Korea, Eritrea, Mali, Nicaragua and Syria were the seven countries who voted against the motion.

Of the BRICS nations, China, India and South Africa were among the 32 abstentions, while Brazil voted in favour.

Chinese senior diplomat Wang Yi travelled to Russia and met with Putin earlier this week in what was widely interpreted as a strengthening of ties between the two global powers.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy claimed that the UN resolution was a "powerful signal of unflagging global support" for Ukraine and a "powerful testament to the solidarity of the [global] community".