France’s President Emmanuel Macron has warned that Russia should not be humiliated in the Ukraine conflict, implying that this will make it harder to find a way to bring the invasion to an end through diplomacy.
“We must not humiliate Russia so that the day when the fighting stops we can build an exit ramp through diplomatic means,” said the left-liberal French president in comments to regional newspapers quoted by the Reuters wire service on Saturday.
“I am convinced that it is France’s role to be a mediating power,” Macron added, while insisting that he has used his many telephone calls with the Kremlin to advise Russian leader Vladimir Putin “that he is making a historic and fundamental mistake for his people, for himself and for history.”
The French head of state’s stance seems to have angered some in Ukraine, however, with Oleksiy Sorokin of the Kyiv Independent suggesting that “Macron’s desperate push to ‘not humiliate Putin’ has successfully humiliated Macron.”
Macron’s comments have sparked criticism in Western Europe, too, with Nile Gardiner, a former aide to the late British prime minister Margaret Thatcher, lambasting the Frenchman as “de facto Putin’s official spokesman in Europe” and accusing his administration of “groveling to dictators, undermining and dividing NATO, [and] picking fights with Russia’s strongest adversaries including Great Britain and Poland,” for example.