Macron says he will continue talks with Putin although not yet ‘satisfied’ with results – POLITICO

PARIS — French President Emmanuel Macron pledged on Monday to continue talking to Vladimir Putin, though he has so far failed to influence the Russian president’s escalating attack on Ukraine.

Speaking on a TV show for French channel TF1 featuring his main rivals in France’s April presidential election, Macron said of his direct talks with Putin: “I won’t tell you that I am satisfied with [the results]but we must continue.

Macron and Putin have spoken at least a dozen times over the past month, the last call being on Saturday with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. The flurry of phone calls has raised questions among critics about whether Macron’s strategy may be wrong and risks fueling Russian propaganda as heavy shelling continues in Ukrainian cities.

Asked directly by one of the show’s hosts what else he could discuss with Putin, Macron replied: “Our role today… is to try to stop this war without going to war.”

He said the goal of such a dialogue with Putin was to “try to break his logic” while keeping an open line of communication to discuss things like humanitarian corridors, protecting nuclear power plants and any possible way out. to the conflict.

Macron said such a dialogue was aimed at “preparing peace” for the end of the war and “talking about it now”.

“Europe cannot be safe and at peace if it does not talk to Russia,” he added, insisting he was “zero naïve” about it.

Pressed by one of the hosts to call Putin a “dictator”, Macron refused.

“Where I stand, the most important thing is not to define it,” Macron said. “I’m trying to protect our country from an escalation of war…I won’t be more effective by insulting it or defining it.”

Macron spoke hours after European diplomats finalized the text of what will be a fourth round of sanctions aimed at penalizing Russia for its invasion of Ukraine. Monday’s televised debate also focused on Ukrainian refugees following the United Nations’ announcement that the Russian invasion has so far displaced more than 2.8 million people.

The French president said France could take in up to 100,000 of these refugees. “We have to do our part,” Macron said. “We must welcome them in the best possible conditions.”


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