29 June 2022 19: 35

4 days before the war. What did Putin and Macron talk about?

What did Macron and Putin talk about 4 days before the war in Ukraine?

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4 days before the war. What did Putin and Macron talk about?

The Swiss newspaper Le Temps has published a transcript of a telephone conversation between Emmanuel Macron and Vladimir Putin. The last conversation between the presidents of Russia and France before the start of the war in Ukraine.

The footage was made public in a documentary titled "The President, Europe and War", which will be shown on the French channel France 2 on Thursday 30 June.

The film is based on a nine-minute conversation between Putin and Macron on the phone, where the latter is allegedly trying to prevent a war, as well as his reaction to the outbreak of hostilities.

Let's discuss what the leaders of France and Russia were talking about 4 days before the start of the war in Ukraine. And I propose to start this with one of the phrases from that very conversation: “Listen to me carefully.”

Putin’s conversation with Macron, excerpts from which are included in the film, took place on the morning of February 20 against the background of a sharp aggravation of the situation in the Donbass and the pulling of Russian troops to the border with Ukraine. But even before any official steps from the Kremlin.

"It was one of the hardest topics I've ever worked on in my life"сказал documentary filmmaker Guy Lagache to the French magazine 20 Minutes.

"I would like you to first give me your understanding of the situation and perhaps quite directly when we talk one on one, tell me what your intentions are," – with these words, Macron began the conversation.

"What can I say? You can see for yourself what's going on." - Putin answered this, after which he accused Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky of lying, and Macron himself of wanting to revise the Minsk agreements on settling the situation in Donbass.

In the conversation, Putin allegedly mentioned Zelensky's words about nuclear bombs.

"I don't know if you heard his statement yesterday that Ukraine should have access to nuclear weapons," the Russian president said. And now let's hear what Zelensky said then - at the Munich Security Conference.

Further, Putin accuses Macron of initiating the revision of the Minsk agreements.

The French president disagrees with this interpretation, leading to a heated exchange of views. To Putin’s complaints that the proposals of the so-called “L-DNR” are “not heard”, Macron, as follows from the film, replied: “We don’t give a damn about the proposals of the separatists!”, justifying this by the fact that they are not a party to the Minsk agreements.

The French leader recalled that the Minsk agreements are a dialogue between Ukraine and Russia, and not between Ukraine and the unrecognized L-DNR. So I don't know, says Macron, where your lawyer studied law. And I don't know what lawyer could tell you that in a sovereign state, separatist groups make up the texts of laws, and not democratically elected authorities.

Words like these push Putin into an irritated tone, and he tells Macron that this is not a democratically elected government. That power in Ukraine is the result of a coup. People were burned alive there, the head of the Russian Federation claims, apparently referring to the events in the Odessa House of Trade Unions, and that Zelensky is one of those who is responsible for this.

Recall that the fire in the Odessa House of Trade Unions happened on May 2, 2014 and the involvement of Zelensky, who at that time was in no way related to politics, is highly exaggerated.

"Listen to me carefully", says Putin to Macron, the principle of dialogue is to take into account the interests of the other side. The proposal exists, the separatists, as you call them, sent it to the Ukrainians, but did not receive a response. Where is the dialogue here? - asks the leader of Russia.

The French leader reiterates that no one is interested in the proposals of the separatists. Their task is only to respond to the proposals of the Ukrainians, because "this is the law."

Macron proposes to demand that all parties to the conflict in Donbas hold a meeting within the framework of the working group - and continue to move forward. Reminds that the situation on the line of contact is very tense. And he asks Putin about how Russian military exercises will develop?

To which Putin replies succinctly - the exercises are going according to plan.

Macron clarifies whether they will end tonight. In response, the President of Russia says: "Yes, probably today". But he adds that the troops will remain on the border until the situation in Donbas is resolved. Well, the final decision will be made after discussions with the Ministry of Defense and the Foreign Ministry.

At the end of the conversation, the President of the Russian Federation agrees to the proposal of his French counterpart to meet with US President Joe Biden.

Here is what Macron says: “President Biden also considered appropriate ways to de-escalate the situation, while also taking into account your demands and clearly addressing the issue of NATO and Ukraine. Name a date that suits you."

“Thank you very much, Emmanuel,” Putin replies. It is always a great pleasure and honor for me to speak with your European colleagues as well as with the United States. And it's always a pleasure to talk to you because we have a trusting relationship."

However, Putin insisted that the date of the US-Russia summit should not yet be set, as it needs to be prepared. The conversation ends with the words of the President of Russia that it is time for him to play hockey. And in general - he speaks with Macron from the gym.

Macron's conversation with Putin before the start of the war in Ukraine

I think it will be useful to recall what else happened on February 20th. The conversation, the transcript of which was published by the Swiss edition of Le Temps, was not alone that day.

Everything we have just discussed happened in the morning. Putin and Macron then talked for 1 hour and 45 minutes. Following the conversation, the Elysee Palace reported that the presidents agreed to resume work within the Normandy format and work on organizing a trilateral working group on Ukraine in the coming hours.

The French press release said nothing about a possible meeting between Putin and Biden. But it was said that French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian would meet with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in the coming days. To this end, several consultations were going to be held in Paris.

And now attention: all this diplomatic work, as reported in the Elysee Palace, “subject to conditions should lead to summit to define a new order of peace and security in Europe."

The Kremlin, in turn, was completely predictable. Informing about the conversation between Putin and Macron, they once again accused Ukraine of imitating negotiations and refusing to implement the Minsk and Norman agreements. But they noted that the activation of diplomatic work is expedient.

Macron and Zelensky. Talk before the war

Further, Macron had telephone conversations with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and US President Joe Biden. The White House said at the time that Macron and Biden discussed “diplomatic efforts and deterrence in response to Russia’s military buildup near Ukraine’s borders.”

On the night of February 20-21, the President of France called Vladimir Putin again. As journalists from the Wall Street Journal wrote, reconstructing the February events, at XNUMX am Moscow time, the leaders of the two countries were still discussing the wording of a press release that would inform the public about plans to hold a Russian-American summit.

The Élysée Palace indeed published information that Macron offered Biden and Putin a security summit, and they agreed. The summit agenda four days later was to be prepared by US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

However, the very next day, February 21, Putin called Macron back. The summit has been cancelled, - journalists from Wall Street Journal write.

“Mr Putin has said that he has decided to recognize the independence of the separatist enclaves in eastern Ukraine. He said that the Nazis had seized power in Kyiv, and that NATO had not responded to his security concerns and was planning to deploy nuclear missiles in Ukraine.”

On the same day, February 21, Putin, as you know, recognized the independence of the so-called "LPR" and "DPR". And on the morning of February 24, he announced a “military special operation” in Ukraine. We call it an invasion and a full-scale war.

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