No more Macron-Putin phone calls; France now rated 'unfriendly' by Moscow

By Michael Fitzpatrick - RFI
France AP - Gerard Julien
AUG 5, 2022 LISTEN
AP - Gerard Julien

Presidents Emmanuel Macron of France and Vladimir Putin of Russia have not been in telephone contact for the past two months. A  Kremlin spokesman said France is now considered an "unfriendly" country and discussions between the two leaders are "unnecessary".

The last time the two men spoke was on 28 May. They were sharing the line with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, and the problem was the fate of Ukrainian soldiers taken prisoner by Russian forces.

Before that, Macron and Putin spoke on the phone in early May, in March, and five times in the course of February as tension mounted over a possible Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Emmanuel Macron met Putin face-to-face in Moscow on 7 February, two weeks before Russian troops entered Ukraine

Critics of the French president say Macron's high-profile diplomatic efforts failed to prevent war. Macron supporters say he is now one of the few outsiders with a view into Putin's mindset at this crucial time. 

The Russian declaration that France is an "unfriendly" country is a reaction to French participation in the organisation of international sanctions in reprisal for the Ukraininan invasion.

France joins the United States, Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Japan, Taiwan and South Korea, as well as the other 26 member states of the European Union, in the category of unfriendly states.

Meanwhile, in his efforts to strengthen ties with remaining allies, Vladimir Putin told Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday that he was hoping to sign an agreement to boost trade and economic ties.

"I hope that today we will be able to sign a relevant memorandum on the development of our trade and economic ties," Putin said as the two leaders sat down for talks in the Black Sea resort city of Sochi.

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