Macron won't follow Kiev 'fashion'
French President Emmanuel Macron has said that he won't visit Kiev in order to “just make a diplomatic visit” or follow the “fashion” set up by some other Western politicians.
“I am ready to do anything, to go to Kiev or to another Ukrainian city. But, I want it to be useful,” he told BFM TV late on Monday. Macron is currently in the middle of a high-stakes domestic election campaign.
“I would only do it to trigger something new, a new process, so I want it to be useful,” he stressed, adding that he would not come to Ukraine just to follow the “fashion” of going to Kiev. At the same time, he welcomed the visits of other leaders as it demonstrated “European solidarity” with Ukraine.
Kiev and its northwestern suburb of Bucha have become hotspots for top European politicians since Ukrainian authorities accused Russia of carrying out the mass-killing of civilians in the area. The location has been visited by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and the top EU diplomat Josep Borrell, as well as British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer.
While Western politicians have been quick to back and amplify the Ukrainian take on the Bucha incident, condemning the alleged “war crimes,” Russia has firmly denied any involvement, suggesting the whole affair was deliberately staged by Kiev to frame Russian troops. Scores of dead civilians were discovered in the suburb after Russian forces withdrew from the outskirts of Kiev late in March and Ukrainian troops moved in.
Moscow attacked the neighboring state following Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements signed in 2014, and Russia’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. The German and French brokered Minsk Protocol was designed to give the breakaway regions special status within the Ukrainian state.
Russia has since demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and has denied claims it was planning to retake the two republics by force.