The conflict between Russia and Ukraine “will only end at the negotiating table,” French President Emmanuel Macron has said.
Macron called for a “negotiated peace” between the neighbors during an interview on Thursday with BFM TV aboard his plane returning from the UN General Assembly session in New York.
Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said earlier this month that Moscow “didn’t reject” the idea of talks with Kiev, but warned that the longer the Ukrainian side delayed them, the harder it would be for common ground to be found.
Speaking about the Western role in the conflict in Ukraine, Macron insisted that “our duty is to hold our line.” And that line, according to him, is “helping Kiev to protect its territory and never to attack Russia.”
“We are not at war with Russia,” the French president assured.
Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a partial mobilization in Russia on Wednesday, citing the fact that the country has been fighting “the entire Western military machine” in Ukraine. The US and its European allies are openly pursuing a military defeat of Russia, seeking to push the country into insignificance and to loot its natural wealth, the Russian president said. But, according to Putin, Moscow is ready to “use all the means that we have” to protect its people and territory.
Macron said in response to Putin’s statements that by announcing a partial mobilization of its military reserves, Russia has decided “to take a step towards escalation,” while also trying to “blackmail” the West with nuclear weapons.
The call up of reservists in Russia follows this week’s announcement by the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, and the predominantly Russian-held regions of Zaporozhye and Kherson, that they will hold referendums on joining Russia between September 23 and 27.
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