Macron advocates for communication with Putin – why President makes unpleasant calls

Emmanuel Macron discusses Russian 'war crimes' in Ukraine

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky received a high-profile visit from three EU leaders yesterday, as Emmanuel Macron, Olaf Scholz and Mario Draghi landed in Kyiv. Their vital support boosted Ukraine while the country’s application to the bloc remains under consideration. While the EU has provided staunch resistance to Vladimir Putin’s advances, Mr Macron has advocated for continued dialogue with the Russian President.

Why is Emmanuel Macron talking with Vladimir Putin?

Mr Macron is one of the only world leaders who has personally spoken with Putin since the Russian invasion began.

Despite opposing his every move, the French President has established contact several times over the last year, primarily over the phone.

During these calls, which last around an hour each, Mr Macron has sought to keep Russia anchored in Europe.

Speaking ahead of April’s presidential elections, he insisted that if he ceased communications with Putin, it would allow other powers to drag him into their sphere.

He feared “the Turkish president, the Chinese president or others” would take his place.

Mr Macron appeared to suggest his decision to speak with Putin allows Europe to determine the peace process on its own continent.

He added that “the non-Europeans” would “build peace in Europe” without him.

And “even if it is very hard” and “sometimes ineffective”, he continued, “you have to insist”.

The French President has presented the talks with Putin as his cross to bear, as they are unpleasant.

In a separate interview, he revealed it “bothers” him to talk to the Russian premier.

He revealed their calls are “not pleasant” but that the countries must “prepare the cease-fire”.

Mr Zelensky has also sanctioned the talks, suggesting they help advocate on his behalf.

Mr Macron said “every time” he calls Putin, he asks the Ukrainian President first.

In response, he said Mr Zelensky would say: “Talking to Putin is important for me. Do it, because I can’t talk to him.”

While Mr Macron’s intentions appear noble, he has occasionally received criticism for being too diplomatic.

Earlier this month, he seemed to advocate for Putin by insisting he had made a “mistake” and that the west should not “humiliate” him.

Speaking with French regional media on June 4, he said: “We must not humiliate Russia so that the day when the fighting stops, we can build an exit ramp through diplomatic means.”

He suggested the Russian President had “made a historic and fundamental mistake for his people, for himself and for history” and that he must now make a tough decision.

Mr Macron added: “I think he isolated himself. Taking refuge in isolation is one thing, but finding a way out is a difficult thing.”

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