Emmanuel Macron on TF1 news from Ukraine: "Go to Russia?  This would suppose preconditions and therefore gestures from Putin" (Update)

Our colleagues from TF1 obtained an exclusive interview with the French president after his arrival in kyiv.

Almost four months after the start of the invasion, Emmanuel Macron visited the lands of conflict . Can we interpret this visit as a kind of support for the Ukrainians? : “It’s a clear and neat way to bring the support of France and Europe to Ukraine. The fighting is terrible with hundreds of deaths every day. The people are in a difficult situation. Our duty was to come with financial, humanitarian and military aid. We are sanctioning Russia to stop this war, but the message is clear.”

Does the re-elected president want a Russian military defeat? ” I wish that Ukraine finds freedom because it defends its territorial sovereignty, its independence and our values. This is the meaning of the support we provide.”

“We don’t have to decide the conditions for the end of this war in place of the Ukrainians”

According to Emmanuel Macron, no one but Ukraine has to decide the conditions for the end of the conflict. “Our duty is to stand on the side of international law and therefore of Ukraine. This war will last but we do not have to decide the conditions for the end of this war in place of the Ukrainians. there will be a military victory, that is to say negotiations which are opened”.

The president then returned to his relations with his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelensky, which some saw strained. “They did not cool down. I was also the first leader in the world to receive him when he was a candidate between two rounds. Some do not understand that I can continue to discuss with Putin. I did it because I think that’s France’s role. Going to Russia? That would presuppose preconditions and therefore Putin’s gestures. I will continue to talk to him in transparency with the Ukrainian president and on condition that it is useful”.

Can Ukraine join the European Union? No doubt for Emmanuel Macron, even if the process will take time. ” We have no right to tell the Ukrainians to come back later. We are ready to recognize them now as candidates for EU membership. However, this process will take time. They will not be members tomorrow. There’s a long way to go but it’s a beacon of hope.”

The French president also returned to his controversial speech before his departure for Ukraine. I’m not going to make political comments here. I want us all to measure the moment when we have to make this democratic choice (the legislative elections in France, editor’s note). Two and a half hours from Paris, there is war. It is not an abstraction, the whole region is destabilized”.

Before concluding. “This war, we don’t know when and where it will end. Destabilization, we live it in our lives. Being here means protecting our country. The prices of gasoline, gas or groceries that are rising are linked to this conflict. Russia is putting pressure on us. We have to take exceptional decisions in exceptional times”.

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