Paris (CNSNews.com) – French President Emmanuel Macron has once against stoked controversy with remarks about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, telling reporters that Russia “must be defeated, but not crushed.”
“The crushing of Russia will never be the position of France,” he said, adding that while he wants to see Russia lose its campaign in Ukraine, he opposes “those who want above all to crush Russia.”
Macron also said that he wants Ukraine to be able to defend itself, but is convinced that “in the end, this will not be concluded militarily.”
“Ukraine needs to lead a military offensive that would disrupt the Russian front in order to trigger a return to negotiations,” he said. “Neither side can really win the war.”
The comments, made to reporters traveling back to Paris with him from the Munich Security Conference, brought negative reaction from both sides of the conflict.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told the Italian daily Corriere della Sera that he has reached the conclusion that Russia’s attitude cannot be changed.
“It will be a useless dialogue,” he said. “In reality Macron is wasting his time.”
Zelenskyy said that if the Russians have decided “to isolate themselves in the dream of rebuilding the former Soviet empire, there is nothing we can do about it. It is up to them to cooperate with the international community on the basis of mutual respect.”
Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova also criticized Marcon’s stated desire to see Russian forces defeated in Ukraine, and accused him of “duplicity” in his relationship with Russia.
Recalling Napoleon Bonaparte’s severe defeat by the Russians in 1812, Zakharova suggested that Macron should learn from history.
In his speech at the Munich Security Conference, Macron said he was prepared for a long conflict in Ukraine – then added, “I’m saying it, but I do not wish it.”
His remarks prompted a phone call from Zelenskyy. Macron told French reporters in Paris that, in the phone conversation, he told the Ukrainian leader it was his hope that Ukraine would succeed in reversing the balance of power to its advantage, in order to force Putin to return to the negotiating table.
This isn’t the first time that Macron has said he does not want to see Russia humiliated. He told the European Parliament last May that the time would come for a negotiated end to the war.
“The end of the discussion and the negotiation will be set by Ukraine and Russia,” he said. “But it will not be done in denial, nor in exclusion of each other, nor even in humiliation.”
The remarks drew criticism from Ukrainian officials and also from eastern European countries which have a history of domination by Moscow and feel most threatened by their powerful neighbor.
Around the same time, Zelenskyy reported that Macron had urged him to accept the loss of some territory seized by the Russians, so that Putin could save face. Zelenskyy said he had rejected the idea.
Macron’s office denied that he had asked Zelenskyy to agree to concessions.
From CNSNews - READ ORIGINAL
Some media, including videos, may only be available to view at the original.