The surprising conversation between Putin and French President Macron – which took place on February 20 but was released on Monday – offered an interesting insight into the talks between Russia and France in the days leading up to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24.
But while Macron’s attempts at mediation and diplomacy between Russia, Ukraine and the U.S. did not work, the newly released phone call also provided a glimpse into President Putin’s mindset a mere four days before sending his forces in to take their neighboring nations.
“I would like you to first give me your reading of the situation and perhaps quite directly, as is our habit, tell me what your intentions are,” Macron immediately asked Putin at the beginning of the shocking phone call.
“What can I say? You yourself see what is happening,” Putin quickly responded, claiming Ukraine "ruptured" the Minsk accords – the international agreements put in place to end the war in Ukraine’s Donbas region in September 2014.
“In fact, our dear colleague Mr. Zelenskyy is doing nothing,” Putin continued, suggesting Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy failed to apply the Minsk accords. “He is lying to you.”
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Macron then attempted to persuade Putin not to invade Ukraine, although the attempt was futile due to what would inevitably end up happening just four days later.
“Do not give in to provocations of any kind in the hours and days to come,” Macron told the Russian strongman.
Making the phone call even more startling was Putin’s flippant attitude when Macron suggested he, Putin and President Biden meet for a summit to discuss the political conflict between Russia and Ukraine.
“To be honest, I wanted to go play ice hockey,” Putin nonchalantly responded to the summit suggestion. “Here I am talking to you from the sports hall before starting the physical exertion. But first I will talk with my advisors.”
The war between the two nations continues to rage on, and although Putin reportedly expected to succeed with his “special military operation” by May 9, the neighboring nations have continued fighting for just over four months.
The phone call between Putin and Macron is also part of a French documentary titled, A President, Europe and the War, which is set to air in France on Thursday and focus on the French president’s handling of Russia’s war against Ukraine.