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03rd Mar 2022

Macron warns Russian president the ‘worst is to come’ in Ukraine

Ava Evans

Putin said he was still seeking the “de-nazification” of Ukraine

Emmanuel Macron has told Vladimir Putin he is making a “major mistake” in Ukraine, following reports of thousands of Russian soldiers and Ukrainians feared dead.

In a phone call on Thursday, the French president told the Russian president he was deluding himself over the current state of play and that the war would cost Russia dearly in the long term. Russia claims it has lost 498 soldiers in the first week of the invasion. Ukraine puts the figure at 7,000 and says 2,000 Ukrainian citizens have been killed. Russia is also being strangled by economic sanctions.

According to a French official, “there was nothing in what president Putin said that could reassure us,” adding that Putin had reiterated his “narrative” that he was seeking the “de-nazification of Ukraine”.

A source inside the French Elysée said Macron told Putin “the worst is to come”.

During the conversation, reportedly initiated by Putin, the Russian president said he would continue in his determination to obtain the “neutralisation” of Ukraine, whether diplomatically or militarily.

“You are lying to yourself’,” Macron told Putin, “it will cost your country dearly, your country will end up isolated, weakened and under sanctions for a very long time.”

Earlier on Thursday, the second round of talks between Ukraine and Russia began.

Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhaylo Podolyak said he and other officials had begun talks with Russian delegates in Belarus.

The Ukrainian delegation will seek an immediate ceasefire and humanitarian corridors to allow civilians to leave frontline communities. More than one million refugees are already said to have fled the country.

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