Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Wednesday denounced French leader Emmanuel Macron’s refusal to call killings in Ukraine “genocide” and his reference to Russians as a “brotherly” people.
“Such things are very painful for us, so I will definitely do my best to discuss this issue with him,” Zelensky said at a press conference with the visiting leaders of Poland and the Baltic states.
The leaders of France and Germany declined Wednesday to repeat US President Joe Biden’s accusation that Russia was carrying out “genocide” against Ukrainians, warning that verbal escalations would not help end the war.
Biden had accused Vladimir Putin’s forces on Tuesday of committing genocide in Ukraine, saying it has “become clearer and clearer that Putin is just trying to wipe out the idea of even being able to be a Ukrainian”.
But speaking to France 2 television as he ramps up his re-election campaign against far-right leader Marine Le Pen, French President Emmanuel Macron said leaders should be careful with language.
“I would say that Russia unilaterally unleashed the most brutal war, that it is now established that war crimes were committed by the Russian army and that it is now necessary to find those responsible and make them face justice,” Macron said.
“It’s madness what’s happening, it’s incredibly brutal,” he added.
“But at the same time I look at the facts and I want to try as much as possible to continue to be able to stop this war and to rebuild peace. I’m not sure that verbal escalations serve this cause,” he said.
Macron said it was best to be “careful” with the terminology on genocide in these situations, especially as “the Ukrainians and Russians are brotherly peoples”.
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