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The Independent

Macron ‘in denial’ about Russian intentions forward of Ukraine invasion, says Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson has claimed France was “in denial” about Russia’s hostile intentions in the direction of Ukraine forward of February’s invasion, whereas accusing the German authorities of initially favouring a fast victory for Moscow.

The previous prime minister risked deeply offending European allies in his evaluation of their attitudes to the upcoming battle in an interview with CNN.

Whereas acknowledging the EU is now offering staunch help to Kyiv, Mr Johnson claimed that there have been deep rifts between their approaches as Vladimir Putin massed Russian troops close to the Ukrainian border final winter.

“This factor was an enormous shock … we may see the Russian battalion tactical teams amassing, however completely different international locations had very completely different views,” stated the previous PM.

He took a swipe at Emmanuel Macron, who fronted diplomatic efforts to stop the battle, talking a number of occasions with Putin and visiting him within the Kremlin within the weeks working as much as the 24 February invasion, in addition to phoning him instantly after troops crossed the Ukrainian border to induce him to drag them again.

“Be in little doubt that the French have been in denial proper up till the final second,” Johnson instructed CNN.

He accused the German authorities of preferring a swift Ukrainian defeat with a purpose to keep away from financial disruption.

“The German view was at one stage that if it have been going to occur – which might be a catastrophe – then it could be higher for the entire thing to be over shortly, and for Ukraine to fold,” stated Mr Johnson.

With Berlin closely depending on Russian vitality, he stated there have been “all kinds of sound financial causes” for that method.

However he added: “I couldn’t help that, I assumed that was a disastrous manner of taking a look at it. However I can perceive why they thought and felt as they did.”

He additionally stated that the Italian authorities – on the time led by Mario Draghi – was “at one stage merely saying that they’d be unable to help the place we have been taking”, given their “large” reliance on Russian hydrocarbons.

Emmanuel Macron speaks with Vladimir Putin forward of the Ukraine battle


However attitudes throughout Europe modified shortly after the invasion and the EU has “completed brilliantly” since that time, he stated.

“What occurred was all people – Germans, French, Italians, all people, (US President) Joe Biden – noticed that there was merely no possibility,” he stated.

“Since you couldn’t negotiate with this man. That’s the important thing level.

“In spite of everything my anxieties … I pay tribute to the way in which the EU has acted. They’ve been united. The sanctions have been powerful.”

Mr Johnson instructed CNN that Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky had been “completely excellent” in his management.

“He’s a really courageous man. I feel the historical past of this battle would have been completely, completely completely different it he hadn’t been there.”

He added that “if Ukraine chooses to be a member of the EU, they need to go for it. and I feel it could be a superb factor for Ukraine.”

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