Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has said that French President Emmanuel Macron asked Ukraine to make territorial concessions to Russia to achieve a ceasefire.
“Macron wanted to see results in mediation between us … and suggested to me certain things related to concessions on our sovereignty in order to help Putin save his face,” Zelensky said in an interview with Italian TV. “We are not ready to help someone to save something and lose our territories for it.”
Earlier in the war, Russian demanded that Ukraine drop its claim to Crimea, which has been under Russian control since 2014 and recognize the independence of the breakaway Donbas republics. Macron is one of the few NATO leaders that has favored negotiations as a way to end the fighting, although his office rejected Zelensky’s characterization.
“The president of the [French] Republic has never discussed anything with Vladimir Putin without the agreement of President Zelenskyy and has never asked President Zelenskyy for any concession. He has always said that it was up to the Ukrainians to decide the terms of their negotiations with the Russians,” an Elysée official said.
Zelensky made the remarks when asked about earlier comments made by Macron. Last week, the French leader said Russia must not be “humiliated” and said the conflict would be resolved 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,” Macron said.
Since Russian and Ukrainian officials met in Istanbul at the end of March, peace talks between the warring sides have stalled. According to a report from Ukrainska Pravda, when British Prime Minister Boris Johnson visited Kyiv on April 9, he told Zelensky that even if Ukraine was ready to sign a deal with Russia, the West was not. Johnson recently told Macron that he “urged” Ukraine not to negotiate with Moscow.