Russia’s goal is to ‘erase’ Ukraine says Bucha resident
Mr Macron is under fire from political opponents over how effective his phone calls made to Putin have been in averting war in Ukraine, which started on February 24. Mr Macron made a slip of the tongue as he defended his efforts in a TV interview, saying: “Absolutely, absolutely. I fully assume, on behalf of France, to have constantly spoken with the president of Russia to avoid peace. Sorry, I meant war.”
Asked about the Ukraine conflict, Mr Macron described criticism of his phone conversations with Putin by Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki as “scandalous” and “unfounded”.
He told the TF1 television channel the attack did not surprise him because Mr Morawiecki has received his right-wing presidential election rival Marine Le Pen, whom he added Poland’s PM supports.
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said at a press conference on Monday, April 4: “President Macron, how many times have you negotiated with Putin? What have you achieved? Have you stopped any of the actions that have taken place?”
Mr Morawiecki, who is a member of the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party, added that no one negotiated with Hitler.
Macron humiliated himself after mistakenly saying he talked to Putin to ‘avoid peace’
Liz Truss meets Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki at Chancellery in Warsaw, Poland
He said: “One should not negotiate with criminals, one should fight them…Nobody negotiated with Hitler. Would you negotiate with Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot?”
Mr Macron’s office said in response that it is important for Putin to understand the demands of Western countries and the cost for Russia of ignoring them.
A French presidential official said: “From the onset, the president has used all available means to make Putin stop the war: massive sanctions, support to Ukraine, demands made directly to President Putin during their calls.”
Mr Macron told TF1 he assumed on behalf of France to have constantly spoken with Putin to avoid war and build a new architecture of peace in Europe.
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Emmanuel Macron meets Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow
France’s far-right party Rassemblement National candidate for the election Marine Le Pen
The French presidential candidate travelled to Moscow and Kyiv in early February and has spoken to Putin at least 16 times since the start of the year.
Paris says those conversations have been confrontational, but offered an opportunity to keep a line of communication open to gauge Putin’s state of mind.
The latest polling shows Mr Macron and Ms Le Pen leading the first round of France’s presidential election. Voters go to the polls for the first round on Sunday.
Mr Macron is on 26 percent with Ms Le Pen on 22 percent, according to a OpinionWay-Kea Partners survey of 2,043 respondents carried out between April 4-7.
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Rival candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon is on 17 percent while Valerie Pecresse and Eric Zemmour are each on nine percent, the poll shows.
Mr Macron is tipped to win the election run-off with 53 percent of the vote, according to the poll.
An editorial in regional daily Ouest-France put the war in Ukraine, climate change and preserving the unity of the French as the main challenges for the incoming head of state.
However, Mr Macron said in his interview with TF1 that if he is reelected, the first measures of his second term would focus on boosting purchasing power.
A civilian cycles amid the destruction on a street in the town of Bucha
He said he would maintain price caps on gas and power prices and that retirement pension payments should be indexed for inflation from the summer.
Mr Morawiecki also accused Germany on Monday of being the main roadblock to imposing tougher sanctions on Russia.
His remarks came after Ukraine accused Russian forces of carrying out a massacre in the town of Bucha near Kyiv.
Mr Morawiecki wrote on Facebook: “The crimes Russia has committed on close to 300 inhabitants of Bucha and other towns outside Kyiv must be called acts of genocide and be dealt with as such.”
In an interview published on Wednesday, Mr Macron said what happened in Bucha were “very probably war crimes”.
Moscow denies targeting civilians.
With additional reporting by Maria Ortega.