French President Emmanuel Macron this week said that negotiation with Russia could still end the war in Ukraine — and that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion was a “huge mistake” based on “a fake narrative.”
Macron made the statements in an interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulus broadcast Thursday.
“I think that President Putin made a huge mistake by launching this war,” the French president said. “He decided on his own, based on a fake narrative, saying ‘NATO will use Ukraine to attack Russia,’ which is totally wrong.”
Asked by Stephanopoulos if a leader who acted that way could be trusted as a negotiating partner, Macron said simply, “This is exactly the question.”
“I think he made a mistake,” Macron continued. “Is it impossible to come back [to] the table and negotiate something? I think it’s still possible.”
The French leader was criticized by some early in the war for maintaining diplomatic contact with Putin — before the Kremlin decided Paris was “unfriendly” for participating in the international sanction regime against Russia and broke off contact.
Macron and Putin spoke again in August to discuss a plan to allow UN inspectors to visit the embattled Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant.
The French president — who is in the US this week for the first foreign state visit of President Biden’s tenure — told Stephanopoulos he is interested in a “sustainable” peace that is amenable to the Ukrainians.
“A good peace is not a peace that will be imposed on the Ukrainians,” he said.
Kyiv has repeatedly stated that the restoration of Ukrainian territory — including Crimea, which was annexed by Russia in 2014 — is a necessary prerequisite to peace.
With Post wires