French President Emmanuel Macron defended his decision to continue dialogue with Russian Vladimir Putin, before and after Russia's invasion of Ukraine. In an interview published by the French newspaper Le Parisien, Macron spoke about his "thankless role" in maintaining a dialogue with the Kremlin.
Macron noted that he spent "hours" in conversations with Putin and "every discussion takes place under an aura of cynicism, and this never gives pleasure." At the same time, he stressed that he considers this dialogue his duty he does not believe that these negotiations with the Kremlin are in vain. They are "useful for preparing for tomorrow's peace," Macron said. According to him, he does not see a way out of the war in Europe until "mid-May".
At the same time, the French president sharply criticized Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, who accused him of negotiating with criminals. Macron called Morawiecki an anti-Semite and accused him of being close to right-wing extremists.
The first round of presidential elections in France will be held on April 10, and on April 24, a second round will be held if none of the candidates receives an absolute majority of votes. Emmanuel Macron wants to be re-elected for a second term. His rivals are the mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, from the French Socialist Party and Valerie Pécresse from The Republicans party.
The leader of the right-wing populist party "National Rally" Marine Le Pen is also running for president. The elections are taking place not only against the backdrop of the war in Ukraine, but also during the French presidency of the EU in the first half of 2022.
On February 7, the French president flew to Moscow for talks with Putin, trying to prevent an impending invasion of Ukraine. His visit was the first trip by such a high-ranking Western politician to Moscow since Russia began to amass troops on Ukrainian border, demanding "security guarantees" from the West. In addition, Macron has repeatedly held telephone conversations with Putin, including during the war in Ukraine.