Macron calls for peace on Ukraine’s terms
French President Emmanuel Macron called on Sunday for a peace deal in Ukraine, but insisted that Kiev will dictate the terms of such an agreement. The Ukrainian government, however, has repeatedly ruled out any compromise with Moscow.
Speaking at a peace conference organized by a Catholic charity in Rome, Macron said that while “calls for peace might seem…like a betrayal” of Ukraine, the “international community” will one day support a negotiated settlement between Kiev and Moscow, the Associated Press reported.
However, peace cannot be “captured by Russian power,” Macron added. “We want the Ukrainian people to decide at a certain point…the moment and the terms of peace.”
The French president has expressed this same sentiment already, declaring earlier this summer that “Ukraine will decide when the conditions are met to build peace.” The leaders of the US, UK, and NATO have issued similarly-worded statements while continuing to bankroll and arm Ukraine’s military, and France, along with the other members of the G7, has pledged to maintain this support for “as long as it takes.”
Ukraine’s terms, however, will likely preclude any settlement in the near future. President Vladimir Zelensky has pledged not to negotiate with Russia as long as Vladimr Putin remains in power, signing a decree earlier this month forbidding talks with the Russian president.
Zelensky has also promised to seize the regions of Donetsk, Lugansk, Kherson and Zaporozhye, which acceded to membership of the Russian Federation following referendums last month. Additionally, the Ukrainian leader has vowed to capture Crimea, which joined Russia following a referendum in 2014.
Not only would an assault on these territories present a formidable military challenge for Zelensky’s forces, a full-scale attack on Russian land would invite Moscow to retaliate with “all the means available” to it, Putin cautioned in a recent speech. Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev was more blunt when he warned Kiev in July that an attack on Crimea would trigger “Judgement Day” for Kiev.
Meanwhile, the Kremlin has warned the UK, France, and other Western powers that it believes Ukraine is preparing to detonate a so-called “dirty bomb” in a bid to frame Russia and escalate the conflict to the point of NATO intervention. While British Defense Minister Ben Wallace refuted these claims and intimated that London’s support for Ukraine would continue, he said after the call that the UK “stands ready” to “de-escalate this conflict.”