Faced with Russia, Macron forced to learn the lessons of the stalemate of the war in Ukraine – Le Monde

Emmanuel Macron, during the conference of ambassadors of France, at the Elysée, September 1, 2022. CYRIL BITTON FOR “THE WORLD” Same place, same decor, but a very different tone in the context of the war in Ukraine . Emmanuel Macron returned, Thursday, September 1, at the Elysée, with the traditional conference of ambassadors. In 2020 and 2021, the diplomatic meeting for the start of the school year in Paris had been canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. As for the latest edition, at the end of August 2019, it had seen the Head of State castigate the “deep state” constituted, according to him, by diplomats troubled by his policy of reaching out to Vladimir Putin’s Russia. . A few days before the meeting, Mr. Macron had received the Russian president at his summer residence at Fort Brégançon (Var) and justified the rapprochement with Moscow. “Russia is a great Enlightenment power. (…) It has its place in the Europe of values ​​in which we believe”, he considered then. In his mind, it was a question of overhauling the European security order, while seeking to prevent the emergence of a Russian-Chinese axis. Criticized in part of Europe, the dialogue initiated at the time in Brégançon remained a dead letter, long before the outbreak of hostilities in Ukraine. He did not prevent Russia from seeking to poison opponent Alexei Navalny. Nor to challenge, among other things, France’s commitment to the Sahel, despite warnings from Paris against sending Russian mercenaries to Mali. The war in Ukraine, which is bogged down more than six months after the start of the Russian invasion, has shattered the last illusions of the head of state. Three years later, “the spirit of Brégançon” is definitely buried. Read also: Article reserved for our subscribers After six months of war in Ukraine, kyiv faces the challenge of reconquest In the absence of being able to mediate between kyiv and Moscow, Emmanuel Macron has, over the course of the fighting, been forced to review his doctrine vis-à-vis -towards Russia. “We must prepare for a long war,” he said on Thursday, September 1, while seeking to remobilize diplomats in order to deal with a crisis that is shaking the security of the entire continent. At the end of June, during the G7 summit, the head of state still hoped that the conflict would end before winter and the end of the year. “Mr. Macron has been forced to update his software, which he does under the pressure of events, often at a minimum and with his own defenses,” said a former diplomat. No longer in a position to mediate Thus, there is no longer any question of asking the opposing forces to put an end to hostilities as quickly as possible. “Nobody in Ukraine would accept that Zelensky be forced to make too big concessions, in particular territorial, explains a person close to the file, at a time when kyiv has just launched a counter-offensive in the Kherson region. The Ukrainians are not ready to negotiate, they resist and want to repel their aggressor as far as possible. You have 66.37% of this article left to read. The following is for subscribers only.