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23 Jun, 2023 12:52

Macron says he’s ready to talk to Putin

The French leader added, however, that he would not call his Russian counterpart first
Macron says he’s ready to talk to Putin

French President Emmanuel Macron has stated that he would pick up the phone if Russian President Vladimir Putin decided to call him to make any sort of proposal in relation to the Ukraine conflict.  

In an interview with the state new channel France24, the French leader noted that he has “no reasons to call [Putin] first,” adding that while the Ukrainian counteroffensive was ongoing he hoped that the time for negotiations would soon come, on terms favorable to Kiev. 

“But, if he calls me and proposes something, I will answer, because France has always been a mediator,” Macron said. 

He also stressed that any resumption of dialogue today is only possible “if there is a return to international law, which ensures the possibility of living in peace.” 

Macron has been one of the few European leaders who, despite facing backlash, continued to hold regular talks with Putin after Russia launched its military operation in Ukraine last February. Macron has also repeatedly cautioned the West against trying to force “humiliating” peace terms on Russia, and has insisted that Paris is against trying to force regime change in Moscow or attacking Russia on its own soil.  

However, he has also said that he wants to see Russia “defeated in Ukraine” and has continued to provide Kiev with progressively heavier weapons, including infantry fighting vehicles and artillery. 

Earlier this week, French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna announced that Paris had requested that Macron be invited to the upcoming BRICS conference in Johannesburg, South Africa. According to the official, the French president expressed an “interest” in attending the 15th summit of the group, which consists of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and host South Africa, as an observer. 

However, senior Russian officials have argued that Macron’s presence at the summit would be “inappropriate” considering his government’s stance against Moscow and attempts to isolate it while supporting NATO’s goal of inflicting a “strategic defeat” on Russia. 

South Africa's foreign minister, Naledi Pandor, has said in turn that inviting Macron would be an “innovation” for BRICS but noted that a decision had not yet been made on the matter.