French President Emmanuel Macron believes Ukraine will be granted candidate status next week, with the president’s visit to Kyiv, together with the leaders of Germany and Italy, set to unite Europe behind this decision.
“Earlier, there were different positions in Europe, so I thought it was appropriate and useful to come now, to bring together the countries that support this message of unity in the EU,” Macron said during an interview.
On June 23, the European Council is set to decide on Ukraine’s candidate status bid, with the three largest EU economies – Germany, France, and Italy – expressing support for a positive outcome.
The Elysee Palace invited several media outlets, including the Kyiv Independent, to talk about their country’s stance regarding Ukraine’s EU bid, arms shipment, and potential peace talks with Russia.
No peace in sight
According to Macron, Ukraine won’t see peace in the near future, as he believes Russian dictator Vladimir Putin doesn’t want to negotiate.
“I know he (Putin) is not yet ready to step back, but Ukrainians resist bravely and heroically, and Ukraine is also not ready for concessions,” said Macron. “Thus, the time to talk about peace and compromises has not arrived.”
According to Marcon, no country would pressure Ukraine into making any concessions, including territorial, in order to approach peace with Russia.
“Neither France nor any other country can set conditions for Ukraine based on which peace talks should be held,” said Macron.
This, however, contradicts Zelensky’s earlier statements in which he accused “some leaders” of asking him “to give up something to save the face of the Russian president.”
Meanwhile, Macron told journalists that a peace agreement between Ukraine and Russia should be discussed on Kyiv’s terms after “Ukraine wins this war.”
“We are standing with Ukraine as it fights and we will be standing side by side with Ukraine when it decides that it is on the path to peace and negotiations,” Macron said.
Speaking of a possible compromise, Macron ruled out giving up Russian-occupied Crimea and the occupied part of the Donbas.
“I believe that Ukraine fights for its territorial integrity and sovereignty,” he said. “You stand for democratic values, international rule of law, and these values are important for the world and for Europe,” he said.
“However, at some point, sooner or later, Zelensky will have to talk to Putin and negotiate,” he said.
Macron also said that France is ready to become a guarantor for Ukraine’s security after peace is negotiated.
No tanks, no planes
Meanwhile, France and Western countries are to restrain from sending tanks and planes, says Macron.
“This is an almost official position of NATO,” said Macron. “(We’ll) help Ukraine defend itself, but we are not going to war with Russia, so certain weapons, such as planes or tanks, were agreed to not be supplied.”
“And President Zelensky is aware of this,” Macron added.
Macron pointed out that France is continuing to supply Ukraine with Ceasar self-propelled gun-howitzers. Ukraine has received six, with an additional six to be delivered shortly.
“When we have such equipment, we respond if we can. In some cases, we do not have the weapons asked for, so we ask other countries and finance such shipment,” said Macron.
Macron says that his country will continue to do everything and more to help Ukraine, even if it means hurting European consumers in the short run.
“Russia blackmails (Europe) with gas, changes volumes of supply the way it likes. Cuts out supplies for some,” Macron said.
“We are aware of this and that’s why France is trying to quickly build energy sovereignty,” he said.
“Why do you think we support Ukraine, the Ukrainian army, the Ukrainian people and have adopted six packages of sanctions against Russia,” said Macron.
“Because we believe that you uphold democratic values.”