President Emmanuel Macron of France has warned that Russia should not be humiliated in the Ukraine crisis, meaning that doing so will make finding a diplomatic solution to the invasion more difficult.
According to the Reuters wire service, the left-liberal French president said in talks to regional newspapers on Saturday, “We must not humiliate Russia so that when the war ceases, we can build an exit ramp through diplomatic methods.”
“I am convinced that it is France’s role to be a mediating power,” Macron said, adding that he has used his numerous phone contacts with Russian President Vladimir Putin to tell him that “he is committing a historic and fundamental mistake for his people, for himself, and for history.”
However, others in Ukraine appear to be offended by Macron’s approach, with Oleksiy Sorokin of the Kyiv Independent arguing that “Macron’s desperate drive to ‘not shame Putin’ has successfully humiliated Macron.”
Macron’s remarks have sparked outrage in Western Europe, with Nile Gardiner, a former aide to late British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, denouncing Macron as “de facto Putin’s official spokesman in Europe” and accusing his administration of “grovelling to dictators, undermining and dividing NATO, [and] picking fights with Russia’s strongest adversaries, including Great Britain and Poland.”
However, President Macron has been unwavering in his opinion that Russia’s “exclusion” and “humiliation” is counterproductive to maintaining peace in Eastern Europe.
The French prime minister used the European Union’s self-congratulatory Europe Day celebrations in Strasbourg in May to emphasise that “we will have a peace to create tomorrow, let us never forget that.”
“We will have to do this with Ukraine and Russia around the table. The end of the discussion and the negotiation will be set by Ukraine and Russia. But it will not be done in denial, nor in exclusion of each other, nor even in humiliation,” he explained.