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Putin disagrees with Macron speech, threatens more demands on Ukraine

The two leaders spoke by telephone today following the French president’s televised speech last night

Russian President Vladimir Putin and French President Emmanuel Macron during a meeting in France in 2017 Pic: Frederic Legrand - COMEO / Shutterstock

Russian President Vladimir Putin has expressed his disagreement with French President Emmanuel Macron’s televised speech, made last night (March 2), in a phone call between the two leaders today.

Mr Putin said that he would continue “without compromise” his offensive against the “nationalists” in Ukraine, according to the Kremlin. He also threatened to add more requirements to his list of demands on Ukraine and the West. 

Mr Macron gave a 14-minute speech last night in which he denounced Russia’s war on Ukraine and offered his support to Ukrainians. He accused Mr Putin of lying.

“There are no Nato troops or bases in Ukraine. This is a lie. Russia is not being attacked, it is the aggressor,” he said.

“This war is even less, as untenable propaganda would have us believe, a fight against Nazism. That is a lie, an insult to the history of Russia and Ukraine, to the memory of our elders, who fought side by side against Nazism.”

Read more: Coming days will be harder, Macron tells France in Ukraine speech

Read more: Ukraine war has rocked the balance of our continent, says Macron

During the speech, Mr Macron said that he would stay in touch with Mr Putin “as much as possible” in order to try to end hostilities, but also criticised a war fed by “a revisionist reading of the history of Europe”. 

Mr Putin has already laid out a lengthy series of demands on Ukraine and the West.

This includes requiring Nato to never accept Ukraine (or Georgia or Moldova) as members, pulling back Nato troops from countries such as Poland, Romania and Bulgaria, and also that Ukraine accepts the independence of the Donbas region and gives up its claim to Crimea. 

Delegations from Russia and Ukraine are set for further talks today, after an unsuccessful first meeting on Monday (February 28). 

Ukraine demands that Russia immediately stops its attack on the country and withdraws all of its troops. 

The cost of war

Russia yesterday reported its own military casualties for the first time since the invasion of Ukraine began last week on February 24, stating around 500 of its soldiers have been killed.

Ukrainian President Zelensky claimed the number was 6,000. Ukraine has not revealed how many of its soldiers have died. 

The United Nations human rights office said on March 1 that it had confirmed 136 Ukrainian civilians have died, including 13 children, with a further 400 wounded. It said this number could be much higher. 

Ukraine’s health ministry meanwhile claimed 352 civilians have been killed, including 14 children. 

For independent news in English about the Ukraine situation, see the Kyiv Independent

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