Monday, September 25, 2023

Macron ‘wasting time on useless’ dialogue with Putin, says Zelensky

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has rejected remarks by his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron on keeping the door open for Mr Putin.

• February 20, 2023
Russian president Vladimir Putin, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky, and France president Emmanuel Macron

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has rejected remarks by his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron on keeping the door open for dialogue with Russian leader Vladimir Putin.

Mr Zelensky told Monday’s edition of the Corriere della Sera newspaper and two other Italian dailies that “this will be a useless dialogue.”

“The truth is that Macron is wasting his time. I have come to the conclusion that we are not in a position to change Russia’s behaviour,” he said.

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni is expected to make her first visit to Kyiv soon.

The far-right politician expressed support for arms deliveries to Ukraine before her election in September last year.

In contrast, her two coalition partners, Matteo Salvini of the right-wing League party and Silvio Berlusconi of the conservative Forza Italia, have repeatedly made pro-Russian statements.

Failure in the Russian offensive in Ukraine is likely to increase tensions within the Russian leadership, according to British defence intelligence experts on the Ukraine war in London on Monday.

According to the defence ministry update, Russia remains on the offensive on several fronts, including the eastern Ukrainian towns of Bakhmut and Vuhledar, with heavy losses in some cases.

The ministry said two elite Russian units in Vuhledar had been worn down to such an extent that they were no longer operational.

The assessment indicated that the Russian military is under pressure to present successes on the first anniversary of the start of the war on February 24.

However, if the spring offensive fails to achieve anything, British intelligence believes tensions will likely increase within the Russian leadership. 


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