French President Emmanuel Macron and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin had a 90-minute phone call on Thursday.
The two leaders addressed Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, with Macron seeking to de-escalate the most significant conflict in Europe since World War II.
According to Politico, Putin rebuffed Macron’s calls to end the war.
Macron said Putin was “lying” to himself in justifying the war, Radio Free Europe reported. He said Putin is “committing a serious error” and “telling himself stories.”
After the call, an aide to Macron warned that the “worst is yet to come,” an ominous sign suggesting a quick resolution to the conflict isn’t in the cards.
“The expectation of the president is that the worst is to come, given what President Putin told him,” said the aide, according to Yahoo News.
“There was nothing in what President Putin told us that should reassure us. He showed great determination to continue the operation.”
Putin said the invasion operation was proceeding as planned, pledging that Russia’s “special military operation will be fulfilled in any case,” according to a Kremlin readout of the call.
He threw cold water on proposals to negotiate an end to the conflict, stating that he’d place new demands on the table if Ukraine failed to acquiesce to Russia’s positions, Radio Free Europe reported.
Putin wants Ukraine to accept a neutral status by renouncing its aspirations of NATO membership.
Russia is also demanding the demilitarization of Ukraine.
Macron has spoken with Putin more frequently than any other Western leader, having sought to de-escalate tensions before Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
Putin and the Russian government have repeatedly claimed that the Ukrainian government is controlled by neo-Nazis.
Russian propaganda has linked the modern-day Ukrainian government to Stepan Bandera, a radical Ukrainian nationalist who collaborated with Nazi Germany against the Soviet Union during World War II.
President PUTIN 🇷🇺
“I will never go back on the assertion that Russians and Ukrainians are one people, even though many Ukrainians have been threatened and brainwashed, and some of them, of course, consciously started following the Bandera movement and other factions.. pic.twitter.com/oJTNu9BWvn
— C-19 Agenda 21 (@C19_agenda) March 4, 2022
Russia has also alleged that Kyiv is carrying out a genocide in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine.
Moscow has been slapped with severe economic sanctions as a result of the invasion.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.