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The French Policy & Napoleon

The Kremlin recently slammed French President Emmanuel Macron for his remark that Ukraine should defeat Russia in the ongoing war. Talking to the Le Journal du Dimanche daily a couple of weeks ago, President Macron reportedly said that France wanted Russia to be defeated in Ukraine, but had never wanted to “crush” it.

Interestingly, the French President hinted that Paris, unlike other Western nations and the US, was still interested in holding talks with the top political leadership in Moscow by saying that “France never wanted to crush Russia”. Experts are of the opinion that President Macron actually wants a regime change in Moscow.

‘Don’t forget Napoleon’
Soon after the French President made the comment, Spokesperson of the Russian Foreign Affairs Ministry Maria Vladimirovna Zakharova said: “About ‘Never’… France did not begin with Macron, and the remains of Napoleon Bonaparte, revered at the state level, rest in the centre of Paris. France – and Russia – should understand.” She also said: “In general, Macron is priceless.” According to Zakharova, it is clear from the French President’s remarks that the West had engaged in discussions about regime change, although Macron had repeatedly shown interest in holding talks with the Russian political leadership.

Commenting on France wants to see Russia defeated, the Foreign Ministry spokesperson stressed that “Moscow still remembered the fate of Napoleon Bonaparte”, blasting the French President for engaging in duplicitous diplomacy with the Kremlin.

It may be noted that President Macron has also been criticised by some NATO allies for delivering mixed messages regarding his policy on the Russia-Ukraine War. Earlier, the French President had requested NATO allies to boost military support for Ukraine. At the same time, Macron had claimed that he did not believe in regime change, stressing that the West should negotiate with Moscow in order to resolve outstanding issues. “Let’s be clear, I don’t believe for one second in regime change, and when I hear a lot of people calling for regime change I ask them, ‘For which change? Who’s next? Who is your leader?’,” he insisted.

Macron, who became the youngest President in French history at 39 in 2017 and also the youngest French Head of State since Napoleon, clarified his comments, stating that “he did not believe a democratic solution from within Civil Society would emerge in Russia after years of a hardening of Moscow’s position and conflict”. He admitted that there would be no alternative to (Russian President Vladimir Vladimirovich) Putin. “All the options other than Vladimir Putin in the current system seem worse to me,” added the French President. He believes that the West should bring the Russian President back to the negotiating table.

Meanwhile, a section of Foreign Policy experts has opined that Paris’ link to the Western alliance has weakened in recent times, and it is evident in President Macron’s comments. Although France backs Ukraine, as far as the ongoing Russia-Ukraine War is concerned; Paris is also eager to hold talks with Moscow in an attempt to resolve the crisis. It shows that President Macron has emerged as a matured politician in Europe. However, it would not be possible for him to resolve the crisis alone.

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