Macron: Putin shouldn’t be humiliated over ‘historic’ mistake

French President Emmanuel Macron said the West should not “humiliate” Russian President Vladimir Putin in Ukraine so as to preserve the chance to find a diplomatic solution to the “historic” mistake of invading the country.

“We must not humiliate Russia so that the day when the fighting stops we can build an exit ramp through diplomatic means,” Macron said in an interview Friday with regional media, stressing that France would play a key mediating role.

“I think, and I have told him, that he has made a historic and fundamental mistake for his people, for himself and for history,” Macron said. “I think he isolated himself. Taking refuge in isolation is one thing, but finding a way out is a difficult thing.”

The French president has faced pressure from Baltic and Eastern European states for continuing to talk with Putin since the start of the war and has faced pushback from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy over suggestions that Ukraine cede some of its territory to Russia to help Putin save face.

In a speech last month, Macron said Europe must “never give in to the temptation of humiliation, nor the spirit of revenge,” when it comes to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine “because these have already in the past wreaked enough havoc on the roads to peace.”

While France has lent military support to Ukraine, Macron has not yet visited Ukraine to show support, unlike top EU and U.S. officials like European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

Questioned about the possibility of a visit, the French leader said on Friday: “Today, I do not rule out anything.”

Macron added that France wanted to increase its military and financial support to Kyiv and “do everything” to free blockaded Ukrainian grain.

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