Emmanuel Macron, the president of France, has stated that he does not want to see Russia destroyed by a loss in Ukraine.
Speaking to French media, Mr. Macron urged Western countries to boost military aid to Kiev and declared himself ready for a protracted conflict.
I want Ukraine to be able to defend its position and I want Russia to lose in Ukraine, he said.
But he took aim at those who, in his words, wanted to “crush” Russia by bringing the war into its own borders.
The remarks were made as world leaders met at the Munich Security Conference, where it was announced that Moscow would face tougher sanctions and that the supply of weapons to Kiev would be accelerated.
According to Mr. Macron, “I do not think, as some people do, that we must aim for a total defeat of Russia, attacking Russia on its own soil.”
“Above all else, those observers want to destroy Russia. France has never held that position, and we will never hold it.”
Speaking at a conference on Friday in Munich, Mr. Macron emphasized that now was not the appropriate time for talks with Moscow.
However, he did not hesitate to state that peace talks were the ultimate objective.
The president said that the only way to “bring Russia back to the table and build a lasting peace” was for Ukrainian military efforts to be supported by allies.
He also scoffed at the idea of a regime change in Russia, calling similar initiatives worldwide a “total failure.”
Despite Mr. Macron’s remarks, the leaders of Ukraine see negotiations as a distant possibility.
Dmytro Kuleba, the foreign minister, expressed his approval of the decision to exclude Moscow from the Munich conference on Friday.
As long as the “terrorist state kills, as long as it uses bombs, missiles, and tanks as an argument for international politics,” he said, Russian leaders should not be invited to the table.
Since there is “no trust” between the parties, President Volodymyr Zelensky has decided against holding immediate talks with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin. He also rejected the notion of ceding territory to reach a peace agreement with Moscow in an interview with the BBC earlier this week.
Some NATO allies have previously criticized Mr. Macron for sending what they see as conflicting messages about Ukraine.
He received harsh criticism from Mr. Kuleba in June for declaring that it was crucial that Russia not be “humiliated over its invasion.”
At the time, Mr. Kuleba responded that Russia needed to be put in its place because it was “humiliating itself.”