The President of France, Emmanuel Macron, on Sunday, has alerted against verbal “escalation” with Russia, after the President of United States Joe Biden called Russian leader Vladimir Putin a “butcher” over his invasion of Ukraine.
President Macron, during an address, said that he saw his task as “achieving first a cease-fire and then the total withdrawal of Russian military by diplomatic means.”
“If we want to do that, we cannot escalate either in words or actions.”
Paris has kept diplomatic doors to Russia open throughout Moscow’s military buildup on Ukraine’s borders and invasion of its neighbor.
The stand might have been criticized by several other leaders and commentators but defended by Macron as important to limiting damage from the war.
He nevertheless blamed Putin Sunday for wanting to return to “a Europe of empires, of domination, without respect for the integrity of borders and nations’ right to decide for themselves.”
Biden’s Saturday comments were far more muscular, with the US chief executive visiting Poland to dub Putin “a butcher” who “cannot remain in power.”
The White House later ran to refuse he was seeking “regime change” in Moscow, while the Kremlin said Biden’s words could harm bilateral relations.
At the same time, Macron stated that he would call Putin on Monday or Tuesday to discuss a proposal from France, Greece, and Turkey to evacuate Ukrainians from besieged port city Mariupol.
President Macron said, “There is a lot of cynicism from the Russian side on this question. We are looking with the Ukrainian authorities in Mariupol at how to organize the evacuation of everyone who wants to flee.”
He further added that, “We have to do it quickly, in the very next days,” given the city’s intensity of combat and bombardments.