Ukraine peace deal would give Putin ‘license to manipulate’, Boris Johnson tells Macron

Boris Johnson has warned Emmanuel Macron that any attempt to settle the conflict in Ukraine now will give Russian president Vladimir Putin “license to manipulate” other countries.

The prime minister told the French president that compromise will “only cause enduring instability” as the pair met to discuss the war at the G7 summit in Germany.

Mr Macron was criticised for negotiating with Putin at the start of the invasion and saying Russia must not be “humiliated” – raising fears Ukraine could be pushed into giving up territory.

“The prime minister stressed any attempt to settle the conflict now will only cause enduring instability and give Putin licence to manipulate both sovereign countries and international markets in perpetuity,” said a No 10 spokesperson after Sunday’s talks.

The PM and French president were said to have enjoyed a “good” discussion and agreed to find ways to “step up” support for Volodymyr Zelensky at the G7 Summit in Germany.

“Both the prime minister and president Macron stressed the need to support Ukraine to strengthen their hand in both the war and any future negotiations,” said No 10.

Earlier on Sunday, Mr Johnson said some “fatigue” was inevitable when it came the conflict. “Realistically there is going to be fatigue in populations and politicians. I think the pressure is there and the anxiety is there, we have got to be honest about that.”

Mr Johnson is keen to push EU leader to provide more military support. Asked whether France and Germany ware doing enough over Ukraine, Johnson only mentioned the German response.

“I never believed in my lifetime that I would see a German chancellor stepping up in the way that Olaf Scholz has and sending weaponry to help the Ukrainians to protect themselves,” he said.

“He has made huge, huge strides. We have 4% of our gas comes from Russia; in Germany, it’s 40%. They are facing real, real pressures, they are having to source energy from elsewhere. But they are doing it.”

A French official said Mr Johnson told Mr Macron he was favourable to the idea of Britain joining a “European political community” – an idea the French president first floated last month.

He suggested a new network could include both the UK and Ukraine, saying it “would not necessarily prejudge future membership of the EU, just as it would not be closed to those who have left the latter.”

Seen arm in arm during brief exchanges before their talks, Mr Johnson told the French president, who had taken off his suit jacket in the hot meeting room, that he was “looking well”.

Mr Johnson also seen in jovial mood with Canadian PM Justin Trudeau, as the pair mocked Putin. The British PM asked if he should keep his jacket on saying: “We have to show that we’re tougher than Putin.”

Mr Trudeau joked: “Bare chested horseback ride.”

Douglas Mateo

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