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Macron disapproves of description of Putin by Biden

We must not 'escalate' the situation with 'either words or actions;, French President Emmanuel Macron said, reacting to US President Joe Biden's remark that Russian President Vladimir Putin was a 'butcher'

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He wouldn’t go as far as the US president, French President Emmanuel Macron said today, adding that he “would not use” the terms of Joe Biden who had called Vladimir Putin a “butcher”. The French president said the world leaders should not escalate the Russia-Ukraine situation using either “action or words”.

“I will not use this kind of remark because I continue to be in talks with President Putin,” said Emmanuel Macron.

The presidential candidate, interviewed on France 3, also indicated that he would speak to the Russian president “tomorrow or the day after” to organise an evacuation operation from the city of Mariupol in eastern Ukraine, which must be “done as soon as possible”.

New humanitarian corridors were opened today to allow the evacuation of civilians from this strategic Ukrainian port located on the Sea of ​​Azov, where more than 2,000 civilians were killed, according to the municipality. Several attempts to establish safe routes for civilians to leave the city have failed, with both sides accusing each other of ceasefire violations.

Earlier yesterday, Biden had held a surprise meeting with top Ukrainian officials in Poland, where he and his team discussed how they could further aid the war-torn country.

The US president joined a meeting between Ukrainian foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba and minister Oleksii Reznikov and their US counterparts — secretary of state Antony Blinken and defence secretary Lloyd Austin. A White House statement said he dropped in about an hour after it began and remained for about 40 min.

Biden also said that he was not sure that Russia had changed its strategy in its invasion of Ukraine after Moscow said its focus was now to completely “liberate” the breakaway eastern Donbas region.

White House tries to mollify

The negotiations are happening amid the tension that grips the Moscow-Washington bilateral relations. In Warsaw yesterday, Biden had compared Putin to “a butcher” who should “not stay in power”.

The attack was poorly received by the Kremlin. Its spokesman Dmitry Peskov called on President Biden to remain “thoughtful” in his remarks. “Every time, personal insults of this kind reduce the scope of possibilities for our bilateral relations with the current American government,” he judged.

President Biden’s statements were immediately tempered by the White House. “What the President meant was that Putin could not be allowed to exercise power over his neighbours or the region.”

“He wasn’t talking about Putin’s power in Russia or about regime change,” the White House added.

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