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Presidency says France is in no mood to make concessions to Russia

French President Emmanuel Macron receives a guest at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, June 10, 2022. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

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  • An official said a negotiated solution to the war was needed
  • France is ready to help with the crisis of grain stocks in Ukraine

PARIS (Reuters) – France is not ready to make concessions to Russia and wants Ukraine to win the war against Moscow’s invading forces while restoring its territorial integrity, a French presidential official said on Friday, as Paris sought to allay concerns about its position. in conflict.

President Emmanuel Macron has come under fire from Ukraine and eastern European allies after interviews published on Saturday quoted him as saying it was necessary not to “humiliate” Russia so that a diplomatic solution could be found when the fighting ended. Read more

“As the president said, we want the victory of Ukraine. We want to restore Ukraine’s territorial integrity,” the official told reporters when asked about Macron’s insulting remarks.

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Macron has spoken with Russian President Vladimir Putin regularly since the February 24 invasion as part of efforts to reach a ceasefire and start credible negotiations between Kyiv and Moscow, though he has had no tangible success in demonstrating this.

“There is no compromising spirit toward Putin or Russia in what the president says. When he speaks to him directly, it’s not condescension, but to say how we see things,” the official said.

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The official said France is also ready to help allow access to the port of Odessa, where some of Ukraine’s grain stocks are ready for export.

“We are at the disposal of the parties so that a process that allows access to the port of Odessa in complete safety can be started,” the official said.

The official did not explain what the assistance was.

The Black Sea, where Odessa is located, is critical for the shipment of grain, oil and petroleum products. Its waters are shared by Bulgaria, Romania, Georgia and Turkey, as well as Ukraine and Russia.

Ukrainian government officials estimate that 20 million tons of grain is unable to travel from what was the world’s fourth largest exporter before the Russian invasion. Read more

Defending Macron’s position, the official said there must be a negotiated solution to the war. He added that Paris had been a major supporter of the sanctions and had provided strong military support to Ukraine.

For some partners in Eastern and Baltic states in Europe, Macron’s keeping dialogue open with Putin undermines efforts to bring Putin to the negotiating table.

Macron will travel to Romania and Moldova from June 14-15 to show France’s support for two of the countries most vulnerable to events in Ukraine.

France has about 500 troops on the ground in Romania and has deployed a surface-to-air missile system as part of the NATO combat group it heads there. The official said Macron would visit French forces to underscore Paris’ commitment to the alliance.

Macron did not go to Kyiv to offer token political support as other EU leaders did, and Ukraine wanted him. The presidential official did not rule out Macron’s visit.

(Reporting by Elizabeth Pinault and John Irish) Additional reporting by Matthew Rosmin Editing by Grant McCall and Frances Kerry

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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