Emmanuel Macron says he wants to defeat Russia in Ukraine but does not want to ‘crush’ the nation on its own soil
- Emmanuel Macron said France’s policy has never been for ‘total defeat’ of Russia
- It comes after he appeared to toughen stance at Munich Security Conference
French president Emmanuel Macron has said he wants to defeat Russia in Ukraine – but does not want to ‘crush’ the nation on its own soil.
Macron has drawn criticism from some NATO allies for delivering mixed messages regarding his policy on the war between Ukraine and Russia, with some considering Paris a weak link in the Western alliance.
‘I want Russia to be defeated in Ukraine, and I want Ukraine to be able to defend its position,’ he told French media in an interview published on Saturday.
But he added that France’s position had ‘never’ been for a ‘total defeat’ of Russia.
‘I do not think, as some people do, that we must aim for a total defeat of Russia, attacking Russia on its own soil,’ he told paper Le Journal du Dimanche.
French president Emmanuel Macron, pictured at the Munich Security Conference on Friday, has said he wants to defeat Russia in Ukraine – but does not want to ‘crush’ the nation on its own soil
Macron has come under fire for delivering ‘mixed messages’ in the war against Putin (pictured on Friday)
‘Those observers want to, above all else, crush Russia. That has never been the position of France and it will never be our position.’
On Friday, Macron urged allies to step up military support for Ukraine at the security conference in Munich – which ends today after the three-day meeting saw world leaders discuss the ongoing war.
Mr Macron urged allies to ‘intensify our support’ for Ukraine to aid its forces in launching a counter-offensive as he appeared to toughen his stance towards Moscow.
‘The time is not for dialogue with Russia,’ he said.
‘We absolutely need to intensify our support and our effort to the resistance of the Ukrainian people and its army and help them to launch a counter-offensive which alone can allow credible negotiations, determined by Ukraine, its authorities and its people.’
A self-propelled artillery vehicle fires on the frontline, Donetsk region, Ukraine, on Saturday
Meanwhile, pro-Ukrainian (pictured) and pro-Russian demonstrators gathered outside the security conference
France’s President Emmanuel Macron, Poland’s President Andrzej Duda and Germany’s Chancellor Olaf Scholz address the media during a trilateral meeting on the sidelines of the 2023 Munich Security Conference
A building damaged by a Russian military strike is seen through a broken window in the front line city of Vuhledar, Ukraine on February 18
Rishi Sunak and US vice president Kamala Harris also reaffirmed their support for Ukraine and the Western alliance.
The conference saw countries promise to back supplies of weapons to Ukraine and to impose even tougher sanctions on Moscow.
Meanwhile, pro-Ukrainian and pro-Russian demonstrators gathered outside the security conference – with some showing support for increased military support – and others criticising it.
But peace talks between Russia and Ukraine at this stage are an unlikely prospect, as Ukraine’s foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba welcomed the decision not to invite Russia to the gathering of leaders.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has also ruled out the prospect of immediate talks with Moscow, saying there is ‘no trust’ between the sides.
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