On Friday, British Prime Minister Borish Johnson spoke with French President Emmanuel Macron and said that he urged Ukraine against negotiating with Russia.
According to a readout of the call from Johnson’s office, the British leader updated Macron on his April 9 visit to Kyiv. “The Prime Minister updated on his visit to Kyiv last month and shared his conviction that Ukraine would win, supported with the right level of defensive military assistance,” the readout said.
The readout said Johnson “urged against any negotiations with Russia on terms that gave credence to the Kremlin’s false narrative for the invasion but stressed that this was a decision for the Ukrainian government.”
According to a report from Ukrainska Pravda citing sources close to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Johnson told the Ukrainian leader during his Kyiv visit that Russian President Vladimir Putin should be pressured, not negotiated with.
The report said that Johnson told Zelensky that “even if Ukraine is ready to sign some agreements on guarantees with Putin,” Kyiv’s Western backers are not ready. The report said Johnson’s position is that of the “collective West,” which now feels Putin is not as strong as they initially thought and see the war as an opportunity to “press him.”
Johnson’s position lines up with the rhetoric that has been coming out of the Biden administration. At the end of April, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said one of Washington’s goals in Ukraine is to see a “weakened” Russia.
The Biden administration has abandoned diplomacy with Russia and does not appear to be interested in a diplomatic solution to end the war. Secretary of State Antony Blinken hasn’t spoken with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov since February 15, and President Biden has no known plans to hold talks with Putin.
Macron is one of the few Western leaders that has held talks with Putin since Russia invaded Ukraine and favors negotiations as a way to end the war. On Monday, he said peace would be achieved through negotiations. “We will have a peace to build tomorrow, let us never forget that … We will have to do this with Ukraine and Russia around the table. The end of the discussion and the negotiation will be set by Ukraine and Russia.”