Joe Biden and Emmanuel Macron share long handshake
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French President Emmanuel Macron’s suggestion the West should think of “guarantees” to give Vladimir Putin after the war, sparked outrage in Ukraine and was branded “imprudent”. The French leader said Europe should discuss “how to give guarantees to Russia the day it returns to the negotiating table”.
He added: “One of the essential points we must address — as President Putin has always said — is the fear that NATO comes right up to its doors, and the deployment of weapons that could threaten Russia.”
According to Henry Jackson Society’s Associate Research Fellow Dr Helena Ivanov, the French leader’s comments could risk the security of Western allies as she warned Vladimir Putin could use them as a way to divide the West further.
She told Express.co.uk: “Macron’s comments obviously carry great significance given France’s role in the EU and what this means for the overall EU approach to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Whilst we can assume that Macron’s recent comments are probably caused by his fear that not providing any security guarantees to Russia may lead to escalations in the future, making such comments is not prudent.
“For one, such comments are likely to provide Putin and his supporters more leverage in making further demands. In addition, such comments are likely to jeopardise the unity between western allies against Russia, as many western countries do not want to give any concessions or security guarantees to the Russian regime.”
She added: “It is unclear how exactly Russia will respond to Macron’s comments and whether his comments mean that Putin will be more willing to communicate – nevertheless, Macron’s comments are jeopardising the security of western allies as it weakens the overall anti-Russian stance deployed by most western countries.”
Asked whether Putin could use Macron’s position as leverage against the West, she replied: “Most certainly, and indeed, I think we can expect this going forward. Russia is known for the disinformation warfare it is waging in the west – the key aim of which is often to disunite the western states and create cracks between them. These comments from Macron are very likely to be used by Putin, if in no other way, then to create disunity among western allies.”
Dr Ivanov argued the French leader’s move could be “very damaging for the unity of Western states towards Russia”, adding Macron might have acted in the belief that through such comments “he may convince Putin to sit down at the negotiating table”.
“However, it remains unclear whether this is likely to bring any success in the future,” she concluded.
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Ukrainian National Security and Defence Council secretary, Oleksiy Danilov, fumed on Sunday over Macron’s statement.
He said: “Instead of Nuremberg — to sign an agreement with [Russia] and shake hands?
“Ukrainian blood on Putin’s hands will not bother business as usual?”
He added that a “denuclearised and demilitarised” Russia would be “the best guarantee of peace for Europe and the world.”
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This is not the first time Mr Macron infuriates Kyiv over comments on Vladimir Putin.
In June, the French leader called on the West not to “humiliate” the Russian President.
He said: “We must not humiliate Russia so that the day when the fighting stops we can build an exit ramp through diplomatic means.”
He added that he was “convinced that it is France’s role to be a mediating power”.
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