Mar 27, 2022 - World

Macron warns against escalation after Biden calls Putin "a butcher"

Emmanuel Macron is talking to the media at the end of an EU Summit on March 25, 2022 in Brussels, Belgium
Emmanuel Macron at an EU Summit on March 25 in Brussels. Photo: Thierry Monasse/Getty Images

French President Emmanuel Macron warned Sunday against the use of escalating "words or actions" if a ceasefire or withdrawal of Russian troops in the war in Ukraine is to be achieved.

Driving the news: Macron's comments, during an interview with France 3, come a day after Biden said in a speech in Poland that Russian President Vladimir Putin "cannot remain in power," calling Putin a "butcher." U.S. officials quickly walked back the comment, telling reporters the U.S. isn't seeking regime change in Russia.

What he's saying: Macron, who has been part of diplomatic efforts reaching out to both Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, was asked about Biden's comments calling Putin a "butcher."

  • Macron said he would not use Biden's words because he's still in talks with Putin.

"We want to stop the war that Russia has launched in Ukraine without waging war and without escalation. This is the objective," Macron said. "We made the choice not to intervene in the conflict militarily," he said, noting that France's diplomatic goals are to negotiate a ceasefire or a withdrawal of Russian troops.

  • "If we want to do this, we must not be in the escalation, of neither words nor actions."

But, but, but: U.S. Ambassador to NATO Julianna Smith told CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday that Biden's comments were a "principled human reaction” following his meeting with Ukrainian refugees in Poland.

  • "He went to the national stadium in Warsaw and literally met with hundreds of Ukrainians. He heard their heroic stories as they were fleeing Ukraine in the wake of Russia's brutal war in Ukraine," Smith said, before reiterating the U.S. "does not have a policy of regime change in Russia."

Smith's words were echoed by Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), who stressed to "Fox News Sunday" that "the President was speaking from his heart but it is not U.S. policy to see regime change."

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