Emmanuel Macron is “misunderstanding” Russia’s invasion of Ukraine after the French President urged Volodymyr Zelensky to sit down for peace talks with Vladimir Putin. Mr Macron raised eyebrows during his speech in Rome on Sunday, during which he said: “Let’s not let peace be hostage to Russian power. Peace will be built with the other party around a table, and the international community will be there.”
However, Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to Ukrainian president Mr Zelensky, said Mr Macron was guilty of what he called a “total misunderstanding” of the situation, which risked making things worse.
He explained: ‘It is more important for Macron to understand the soul of the Ukrainian people and know that they will never get on their knees for Russia.
‘If he wants to see children dying, and waiting before giving extra help, OK let him wait. But Ukraine will still resist.”
Mr Podolyak continued: “It’s very strange behaviour by the French.
“Macron cannot depart from this conservative, traditional European mentality.
“Any continuation of the negotiating process with Russia will only mean the continuation of war in the future and intensifying the war.”
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Speaking afterwards Mr Macron said: “President Putin assured me of his readiness to engage in this sense and his desire to maintain stability and the territorial integrity of Ukraine.”
Nevertheless, on February 24, Putin ordered his full-scale invasion.
The pair also spoke by telephone on August 19.
A subsequent statement issued by Elysee Palace said: “President Macron once again emphasised his concern over the risks that the situation at the Zaporizhzhia plant poses to nuclear safety and security, and expressed his support for sending a mission of IAEA experts to the site as quickly as possible, under conditions approved by Ukraine and the UN.
“The Russian President indicated his agreement to the deployment of this mission and the terms that were discussed.
“The two presidents will speak about this subject again in the next few days following discussions between the technical teams and before the deployment of the mission.”
France has frequently stressed the need to keeping Western diplomatic channels to Moscow open.
Also on Sunday,Russia fired missiles and drones into Ukrainian-held Mykolaiv on Sunday, and Moscow said the conflict was trending towards “uncontrolled escalation”.
Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu discussed the Ukraine situation in separate phone conversations on Sunday with France’s Armed Forces Minister Sebastien Lecornu as well as with US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and the defence ministers of Britain and Turkey.
Without providing evidence, Shoigu claimed Ukraine was planning to detonate a “dirty bomb” – conventional explosives laced with radioactive material.
Ukraine does not possess nuclear weapons.
However, Russia has said in the past said it could protect Russian territory with its nuclear arsenal.