Macron of France attacks Putin’s ‘cruel attack’ on Ukraine

PARIS — Hours after speaking with Vladimir Putin, French President Emmanuel Macron on Friday accused the Russian leader of launching a “cruel attack” on Ukraine in an imperialist, revanchist violation of international law.

Macron, who tried tirelessly but in vain to prevent the invasion and has long boasted of the importance of dialogue with Putin, has become increasingly critical of the Russian president as the war continues.

He warned French citizens that the resulting energy and economic crisis facing Europe is not over, calling it “the price of our freedom and our values”.

“Since Vladimir Putin launched his brutal attack on Ukraine, the war has returned to European soil a few hours away from us,” Macron said in a speech commemorating the 78th anniversary of the Allied landing in Nazi-occupied South Africa. France during World War II.

Macron said Putin wants to impose his “imperialist will” on Europe, evoking “ghost images of the spirit of revenge” in a “blatant violation of the integrity of states”.

Earlier Friday, Macron spoke with Putin for more than an hour to urge Russia to accept Ukraine’s terms to allow UN nuclear inspectors to visit Europe’s largest nuclear power plant. There are growing international security concerns at the Zaporizhzhya factory, which is occupied by Russian troops and at the heart of the war.

The leaders also discussed efforts to get grain and other food products from Russia. EU sanctions aimed at ending the war make exceptions for food.

It was their 20th interview this year, but their first in three months.

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