Emmanuel Macron intends to return to talk directly with Vladimir Putin about security at the Ukrainian nuclear power plants to avoid an escalation and believes that pressure must be put on Russia to return to the negotiating table.
In an interview to the French television channel TF1 broadcast on Saturday, Macron did not say when this next conversation with the Russian president will take place, but he did specify that it will be after addressing the issue of safety at the Ukrainian atomic power plants with the director of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Rafael Grossi.
The hottest topic on that point is the situation at the Zaporiyia power plant, the largest in Europe, which has been under the control of Russian troops since it was occupied in March, and which has been the subject of multiple armed skirmishes of which Moscow and Kiev have accused each other.
The French president ended a state visit to the United States on Friday in New Orleans during which he spoke with Joe Biden about the war in Ukraine and his message in the interview is that "the United States and France share the same vision of things."
Specifically, that "it is necessary to help the Ukrainians to resist" the Russian invasion and for that the French and Ukrainian president, Volodimir Zelenski, are organizing an international conference in Paris on the 13th.
In addition, according to his account, Macron and Biden also agreed that it is necessary to "put pressure on Russia to return to the negotiating table" and "prepare the dialogue for the day when everyone returns to the negotiating table".
Asked about Zelensky's categorical refusal of any territorial concession to Russia, including Crimea, the French president repeated that the question of borders is a matter for the Ukrainians and that the French have nothing to say there.
What he did say is that it is necessary to prepare with Biden is "the security architecture with which we want to live tomorrow" when this conflict is over.
And in his opinion, this includes addressing the fears expressed by Russia about the fact that "NATO will arrive at its door" with the deployment of weapons that could pose a threat to it. That, he stressed, will be one of the issues of the peace dialogue.
In the meantime, he repeated that he will continue to help Ukraine, also militarily, but within the same limits that he has set himself since the beginning of the war: not to weaken the capabilities of the French Army and not to deliver weapons that could be used to attack Russia.