Ex Ukrainian leader slams Macron hesitancy
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Prior to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Mr Macron made several attempts to persuade Putin to withdraw troops from the border, however, he failed to make a difference. However, Putin has previously mentioned he will only talk with Mr Macron as the west’s de-facto diplomat when it comes to resolving the crisis.
Mr Macron has vowed to continue his talks with Moscow in spite of criticism flooding in over his lack of progress.
Speaking on TF1, Mr Macron said: “I won’t tell you I’m satisfied with the results, but we need to continue.”
The multiple calls have caused critics of Mr Macron to suggest he may be misguided and too eager to talk as Russian forces continue to bomb Ukrainian cities.
And according to Politico, Macron’s comments will “likely fuel criticism from those who argue the French president has been too quick to engage with Putin”.
Speaking of his underlying goal in the talks, Mr Macron said: “Our role today … is to try to stop this war without going to war.”
The French president also insisted the talks set about trying to defy Putin’s logic, and maintain diplomatic corridors into Moscow allowing for humanitarian aid, the protection of nuclear sites, and a line of dialogue, no matter how small.
Mr Macron said such dialogue was meant to “prepare peace” for when the war is over and “talk about it from now on.
“Europe can’t be safe and at peace, if it does not talk to Russia.”
US President Joe Biden has in recent days turned his rhetoric to one of attack rather diplomacy, calling Putin a “butcher” and “war criminal” and claiming “he cannot remain in power.”
Maintaining his more neutral approach, Mr Macron “From where I stand, the most important thing is not to define him.
“I’m trying to protect our country from an escalation of war … I won’t be more efficient by insulting or defining him.”
The French president’s attempt to de-escalate the situation was supported by the far-right politician Marine Le Pen, one of his main competitors in the upcoming presidential election.
Speaking of Mr Biden’s words, Ms Le Pen said: “Obviously, those are words that add oil to the fire.
“The fact the president of the Republic is not entering into this escalation is a good thing.”
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Many see Mr Macron’s newfound love for global diplomacy as a strategy entering into the French presidential election’s first round on April 10.
With Mr Macron tipped to gain a second term in office in a run-off against Ms Le Pen, some have warned the show is not over until the end.
With Mr Macron having caused a flurry of discontent over his first term, from the handling of the Covid virus to the yellow-vest movement one commentator suggest he must still tread with caution.
Dominique Reynié, head of the influential Fondapol thinktank, suggested it was dangerous for voters to not bother turning out just because opinion polls envisage a win for Mr Macron.
The combination of Covid and the war in Ukraine had made the election unpredictable, he said, admitting even experts in analysing voting patterns could not reliably call the result.
Mr Reynié, a senior academic at Sciences Po in Paris said: “This is not an election like any other and I cannot see in any way the result is certain.
“We could say one thing today and tomorrow it could be different.
“We cannot be sure of anything.”
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The latest figures on voting intentions in the first round show Mr Macron’s support levelling off at around 27 percent, a small drop from last week, but up from before Russia invaded Ukraine.
Ms Le Pen who used to support Putin but has recently distanced herself climbed to 21 percent.
Radical left candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon has risen to third place with 13 percent, with the mainstream right candidate Valérie Pécresse behind him at 12 percent and Éric Zemmour at 10 percent.
Polls suggest a Macron-Le Pen second-round runoff – a repeat of the 2017 presidential election – with polls forecasting a 55-45 win for the incumbent.
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