Ukraine war: Russia must be defeated but not ‘crushed’, Macron says
Emmanuel Macron, the French President, has stated that he doesn’t want to see Russia crushed by a defeat in Ukraine.
Macron spoke to French media and urged the West to support Kyiv more militarily. He also said that he was ready for a long war.
“I want Russia to be defeated in Ukraine, and I want Ukraine to be able to defend its position,” he said.
He blasted those who, he claimed, wanted to extend the war to Russia in an attempt to “crush the nation.”
These comments were made as world leaders met at the Munich Security Conference. The conference saw promises to increase weapons supply to Kyiv and impose more sanctions on Moscow.
“I do not think, as some people do, that we must aim for a total defeat of Russia, attacking Russia on its own soil,” Mr. Macron told the paper Le Journal du Dimanche.
“Those observers want to, above all else, crush Russia. That has never been the position of France and it will never be our position.”
Addressing the conference in Munich on Friday, Mr. Macron insisted that now was not the time for dialogue with Moscow.
But he did not shy away from mentioning peace talks as a final goal.
The president suggested that Ukrainian military efforts, supported by allies, were the only way to “bring Russia back to the table and build a lasting peace”.
He also dismissed the prospect of regime change in Russia, saying similar efforts around the world as a “total failure”.
Despite Mr. Macron’s comments, negotiations are a faraway prospect for Ukraine’s leaders.
On Friday, Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba welcomed the decision to not invite Moscow to the Munich conference.
Russian leaders should not be invited to the table as long as the “terrorist state kills, as long as it uses bombs, missiles, and tanks as an argument for international politics”, he said.
President Volodymyr Zelensky has ruled out immediate talks with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, insisting there was “no trust” between the parties. In an interview with the BBC earlier this week, he also dismissed the idea of giving up territory to strike a peace deal with Moscow.
Mr. Macron has previously been criticized by some Nato allies for sending what they believe are mixed messages on Ukraine.
Last June, he was condemned by Mr. Kuleba for saying it was vital that Russia was not “humiliated over its invasion”.
Mr Kuleba at the time responded that Russia – which was “humiliating itself” – needed to be put in its place.