Ukrainian counter-offensive key to forcing talks with Russia: Macron
Munich, Germany, Feb 17 (EFE).- French president Emmanuel Macron on Friday urged the international community to step up support for Ukraine so that it can launch a counter-offensive that would force Russia to negotiate an end to the war on Kyiv’s terms.
“We absolutely need to intensify our support and our effort to the resistance of the Ukrainian people and its army and help them to launch a counter-offensive which alone can allow credible negotiations, determined by Ukraine, its authorities and its people”, Macron said at the annual two-day Munich Security Conference.
While he broached the topic of negotiations, Macron clarified that now was not the time to open talks with Moscow, which is ramping up hostilities in eastern Ukraine ahead of an anticipated assault with the first anniversary of the Kremlin’s full-scale invasion looming.
“The hour of dialogue hasn’t come yet, because Russia chose war. Russia chose to target civilian infrastructure and commit war crimes,” Macron said.
The French leader said that Russia’s refusal to accept its collapse as an imperial power and its “neo-colonial” ambitions meant Moscow “must fail” in order to achieve a “lasting peace.”
In that context, Macron said it was crucial that Europe “invest massively” in defense, both within Nato and at the continental level, given that Russia will always be on its doorstep.
“None of us will change the geography of Russia, the fact that it will always be on European soil, and none of us can change the fatality and our dilemma that there will be no lasting peace,” he said, until we “take charge” of “the Russian question.”
Echoing an earlier warning from German chancellor Olaf Scholz, Macron said Europe must be prepared for a “prolonged conflict” in Ukraine, and called on EU member states to substantially increase defense spending.
Macron, who was addressing the Munich Security Conference, also called for the international order to be “rebalanced” in order to “make it more inclusive” and regain the trust of developing nations.
“I’m very impressed by how much we are losing the trust of the Global South,” Macron said, adding that reforms to the IMF and other international bodies would be discussed at a conference in Paris planned for the summer. EFE