Zelensky says he invited Macron to see evidence of ‘genocide’ in Ukraine

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said he has invited his French counterpart to visit Ukraine to see for himself evidence that Russian forces have committed "genocide," a term President Emmanuel Macron has avoided.

Zelensky says he invited Macron to see evidence of 'genocide' in Ukraine
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will address the French parliament via videolink in March. Photo by Adrian Wyld / POOL / AFP

“I talked to him yesterday,” Zelensky told CNN in an interview recorded on Friday but broadcast on Sunday.

“I just told him I want him to understand that this is not war, but nothing other than genocide. I invited him to come when he will have the opportunity. He’ll come and see, and I’m sure he will understand.”

Zelensky said he also thought US President Joe Biden would come at some point, though White House officials have said there are no plans to do so.

The Ukrainian leader said he believed Macron was shying away from using the term “genocide” — a term Biden has now used regarding the war in Ukraine — because he thinks it would hurt the chances for diplomatic engagement with Russia.

The Ukrainian president said earlier that Macron’s refusal to use the designation was “very painful for us.”

READ ALSO: French police officers travel to Ukraine to investigate Bucha mass grave

Macron is in the heat of an election campaign, with a second-round vote against far-right politician Marine Le Pen set for next Sunday.

He told France’s Radio Bleu on Thursday that it was not helpful to Ukraine “to enter into verbal escalations without drawing all of the conclusions.”

“The word ‘genocide’ has a meaning” and “needs to be characterized legally, not by politicians.”

Zelensky, in his CNN interview, said he would also like to see Biden visit Ukraine.

READ ALSO: France seizes more Russian property including €100m Abramovich mansion

A growing list of European leaders have made their way to Kyiv in shows of support, including British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

After Johnson visited the devastated Ukrainian town of Bucha — where officials say scores of civilians were “simply shot in the streets” — he said evidence of a massacre by Russian troops “doesn’t look far short of genocide to me.”

Regarding a possible visit by Biden, Zelensky said, “I think he will” come, “but it’s his decision, of course, and about the safety situation, it depends.”

READ ALSO: Meet the British couple hosting Ukrainians in northern France

“But I think he’s the leader of the United States, and that’s why he should come here to see.”

US officials say they are considering sending an emissary to Kyiv, but for now, have ruled out a high-risk visit by the 79-year-old president himself.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


France ‘strongly condemns’ Russia’s expulsion of its diplomats

France "strongly condemns" the expulsion of 34 of its diplomats by Russia, the foreign ministry said Wednesday, a tit-for-tat move by Moscow after Paris ordered some Russian staff to leave.

France 'strongly condemns' Russia's expulsion of its diplomats

Saying the step had “no legitimate basis”, the ministry said in a statementthat “the work of the diplomats and staff at (France’s) embassy in Russia… takes place fully within the framework of the Vienna Convention on diplomatic and consular relations” — whereas Paris expelled the Russian staff in April on suspicion of being spies.

Moscow said Wednesday it was expelling 34 “employees of French diplomatic missions” in a tit-for-tat move following the
expulsion of Russian diplomats from France as part of joint European action over Russia’s campaign in Ukraine.

“Thirty four employees of French diplomatic missions in Russia have been declared persona non grata,” Russia’s foreign ministry said in a statement, adding that they have two weeks to leave the country.

Moscow made the announcement after summoning France’s ambassador to Russia, Pierre Levy, and telling him that the expulsion of 41 employees of Russian diplomatic missions was a “provocative and unfounded decision”, the statement

“It has been stressed that this step causes serious damage to Russian-French relations and constructive bilateral cooperation,” the foreign ministry said.

French President Emmanuel Macron initially led diplomatic outreach to the Kremlin over Moscow’s military campaign in Ukraine but his talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin have eventually tapered off and overt French military
support to Ukraine has increased in recent months.