In the run-up to a conference on the war in Ukraine—to be held in Paris on Tuesday, December 13th—French President Emmanuel Macron spoke by phone with his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky on Sunday, December 11th.
During the bilateral meeting, the two heads of state discussed the proposed ten-point peace plan, which Zelensky put forward in November while the G20 was meeting in Bali. Emmanuel Macron declared his full support for this proposal. Defence cooperation and energy stability were also discussed. Since the beginning of the conflict, the two men have had such exchanges no less than forty times—a relationship that is ongoing, if also a little chilly and tense.
On several occasions, positions taken by Emmanuel Macron have aroused anger in Kyiv, such as Macron’s reminder that Ukraine’s accession to the European Union would take decades. Recently, the French president’s insistence on acquiring “security guarantees” for Russia has rekindled Ukrainian discontent. The exchange on December 11th thus reaffirmed the ‘friendship’ between the two leaders.
For his part, on Friday, December 9th, Vladimir Putin confirmed at a regional summit in Kyrgyzstan that an agreement would be necessary to end the conflict, but that he remained doubtful about the trust he could place in his interlocutors. “I have already said on several occasions that we are ready for these arrangements, we are open,” he said without commenting further on the potential content of these “arrangements,” after declaring that “trust was almost at zero.”
The Élysée announced that 47 states will be represented on December 13th at the Paris conference “for the resilience and reconstruction of Ukraine,” which will also be attended by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. Volodymyr Zelensky will participate via video at the conference, while his prime minister will attend in person. While the peace plan drawn up by Zelensky will obviously be discussed, the priority is to find solutions in the short term, “to respond concretely and in the very short term to the urgent needs [of Ukraine] to get through the winter, in particular concerning access to electricity, heating and water,” according to the Élysée.
At the same time, Emmanuel Macron plans to hold a parallel conference to bring together French companies wishing to commit to the reconstruction of Ukraine.