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In an interview with FRANCE 24, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba urged France and President Emmanuel Macron to call the atrocities committed by Russian forces in Ukraine “genocide”. Macron earlier this week refused to use the term, a move Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called “painful”. Kuleba welcomed the latest arms deliveries from Kyiv’s international partners, especially the United States, but urged Germany to provide Ukraine with heavy weapons. The head of diplomacy also conceded that the future of the war will be decided “on the battlefield” and not at the negotiating table.
Speaking to FRANCE 24 from Kyiv, Dmytro Kuleba said Russia had carried out missile strikes on several cities, including the capital, on Friday night. He rejected the idea that it was a response to the sinking of the Moskva, the Russian missile cruiser in the Black Sea, saying that Russia did not need a reason since it was at war with Ukraine for weeks now.
He declined to formally confirm that the sinking of the Moskva was caused by a Ukrainian missile strike, but said Ukraine “is not afraid to hit targets that pose a threat”. Kuleba dismissed concerns that Russian President Vladimir Putin had to save face, saying Putin “must be defeated by all means: militarily, politically and economically.”
Kuleba said that the crimes committed by Russia in the southeastern port city of Mariupol were even worse than those seen at Bucha and that Russia concealed evidence of its crimes by using mobile crematoria.
The future of war will be decided “on the battlefield”
The head of diplomacy admitted that these atrocities “complicated” the talks with Russia, saying that those in progress had made “no progress”. He conceded that Putin is now focused on a military solution and that the future of the war will be decided “on the battlefield” and not at the negotiating table.
Ukraine’s foreign minister said Ukraine is now seeing “more and more advanced weapons” being delivered by the United States. He particularly welcomed the delivery of “NATO-standard artillery units” and urged other NATO members to follow suit and deliver sophisticated weapons. He welcomed Germany’s historic decision to send arms to Ukraine, but said “they can do a lot more”, urging the government to allow the supply of heavy weapons.
Kuleba welcomed France’s decision to bring its embassy back to kyiv and demanded more weapons from Paris. He added that France had given him the impression that it would support an oil embargo on Russia at the EU level.
“It is time to change the French approach to Russia”
Ukraine’s foreign minister said the policy of some European countries, which had asserted before the war that it was crucial to continue talking to Putin, had failed. “We ask Berlin and Paris to reconsider this policy. It’s time to take a tough stance against Putin and his country. Now is not the time to try to please him. It is time to change the French approach to Russia.
Asked about this week’s row between Presidents Zelensky and Macron over the use of the term “genocideto describe the events in Ukraine, Kuleba said it was “time” for France and its president to call what is happening a “genocide.” Macron earlier this week refused to use the term, a move Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called “painful”. Kuleba said that “ultimately, the atrocities committed by Russia will be legally qualified as genocide”.