Russia’s President Vladimir Putin on Thursday said the military operation in Ukraine was going as planned and threatened to intensify it if Moscow’s demands were not met during a phone call with his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, sources from the Élysée Palace said.
The call, which came at Putin’s request, lasted for one and a half hours.
The Russian leader stressed that if Ukraine did not accept his terms through political-diplomatic means, he would continue with the military operation to achieve the set goals.
Macron, meanwhile, told Putin that he was making a “serious mistake,” and that he was “looking for excuses,” according to presidential sources.
He added that violence cannot be justified and that Russia will end up “isolated, weakened and under sanctions” for a long period of time.
The French president repeatedly demanded Putin put an end to the military offensive on Ukraine and guarantee the physical safety of Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskyy, as well as all civilians in the country.
Putin, in turn, said that civilians were not a military target.
Putin alleged that Ukrainians were committing “war crimes” and behaving like “Nazis,” which is why, although he is open to negotiations, he believes he will not stop until he takes control of the entire country, the French sources said.
Following his conversation with Putin, Macron said that the “worst is yet to come” in Ukraine.
Despite the harsh sanctions the international community already imposed on Russia, France believes that they must be strengthened.
Afterward, the French leader called Zelenskyy to fill him in on Putin’s conditions but the Ukrainian president said they would not surrender.
A second round of the talks between Russia and Ukraine is set to start later on the day in the Belarusian region of Brest.