French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday insisted that the world was ‘not at war with Russia or its people’, but only with President Vladimir Putin.
“There are no NATO troops or bases in Ukraine, and Russia has not been attacked,” said Macron, as multiple cities in Ukraine came under brutal attack.
Portraying Russian president Vladimir Putin as ‘the aggressor’ while standing in front of the flags of France, Ukraine and the European Union, Macron said: “This war is the fruit of a spirit of revenge born of a revisionist reading of the history of Europe.
“Russian forces are besieging the most important Ukrainian cities. The days to come will probably be harder and harder. Hundreds of thousands of refugees are fleeing to neighbouring countries.”
Macron held multiple meetings with Putin, including one in Moscow, before Russia invaded Ukraine last Thursday.
Referring to the Ukrainian leader, Macron said: “I address to President Volodymyr Zelensky the fraternal support of France.
“This very afternoon, the United Nations General Assembly condemned, in an overwhelming vote, this aggression.
“The international community has thus shown its unity.”
Confirming that “several hundred French soldiers had arrived in Romannia,” Macron highlighted the distinction between Russia and its leader.
“We are not at war with Russia,” said Macron. “We know what binds us to this great European people – that is to say the Russian people.”
Despite this, Macron added: “I have chosen to stay in contact, and will stay in contact as much as I can and as much as necessary, with President Putin.”
Macron said this was “to prevent the widening and contagion of the war.
“These events are the signal of a change of era.
“Democracy is being challenged before our eyes. Our freedom, that of our children, is no longer a given, it is a time to be courageous, a constant fight.
“Our country will therefore increase investment in its defence.
“We can no longer depend on others, especially Russian gas. I will defend a strategy of European energy independence.”
To this end, Macron said he would be organising an EU summit next week at Versailles to discuss energy independence.