Ukraine’s foreign minister criticises French president’s remarks and says Kremlin should be ‘put in its place’
Kyiv on Saturday attacked Emmanuel Macron after he said it was vital that Russia was not humiliated for its illegal invasion of Ukraine.
The French president declared that France’s role was to be “a mediating power” and that sparing Vladimir Putin a crushing defeat was the only way to find a diplomatic solution to end the war.
“Calls to avoid the humiliation of Russia can only humiliate France and every other country that would call for it,” Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine’s foreign minister, said.
He said Russia, which Kyiv says has occupied 20 per cent of its territory, should instead be “put in its place” to “bring peace and save lives”.
Ukrainian aides ruled out any peace talks until Kyiv has used new weapons from the West to push Russian forces as far as possible out of Ukraine.
Mr Macron has kept open diplomatic channels with Putin, despite criticism from some eastern and Baltic partners in Europe who believe Russia must be forced to the negotiating table.
“I am convinced that it is France’s role to be a mediating power,” Mr Macron said. “We must not humiliate Russia so that the day when the fighting stops we can build an exit ramp through diplomatic means.”
France has supported Ukraine with money and weapons, most recently with Caesar howitzers.
In May, Mr Zelensky suggested that Mr Macron had asked him to give up some land to secure a peace deal with Moscow, which the president of Ukraine ruled out.
Joe Biden, the US president, was asked whether Kyiv would have to cede some of its land and did not rule it out on Friday.
“It’s their territory. I’m not going to tell them what they should and shouldn’t do. But it appears to me that at some point along the line, there’s going to have to be a negotiated settlement here,” he said.
The US and its allies are putting a renewed emphasis on the need for a negotiated peace with Moscow after more than 100 days of war.
US officials have in recent weeks been meeting with UK and EU representatives to discuss possible ways to end the conflict, CNN reported.