France’s President Emmanuel Macron said on Monday that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s Victory Day speech was a show of “force, intimidation and a warlike stance”, but insisted that peace negotiations cannot succeed through the “humiliation” or either Russia or Ukraine.
“I think we [EU and Russia] presented two very different visions of May 9. On one side there was a desire for a show of force, for intimidation and a warlike stance… I never get into commentary but [Russian] President [Vladimir] Putin presented a warlike stance,” Macron said at the European Parliament.
However, the French president added: “"But in the future we will have to build a peace, let's never forget that. I said that earlier. We'll have to do it with both Ukraine and Russia sitting around the table. The terms of the discussion will be established by Ukraine and Russia.”
Macron insisted that Europe learn from its past: “But it won't happen by ignoring or excluding one or other of them or by humiliation. Because our Europe did not keep fulfil the promise of post-1945 [end of World War II] after 1914 [the First World War] because in 1918 we humiliated. So, we need to ensure that.”
Putin used the memory of Soviet victory to encourage his army to win the war in Ukraine, condemning what he described as existential threats to Russia, and claimed that the West was planning to invade the country.