Moscow aims to take ‘full control’ of Ukraine capital by diplomatic or military means, according to France

Vladimir Putin has told Emmanuel Macron that Kyiv’s “refusal to accept Russia’s conditions” means he will continue to pursue his war in Ukraine, the Élysée Palace has said, adding: “We expect the worst is yet to come,” reports the Guardian.

As the number of refugees fleeing the conflict passed 1 million and Russian forces, backed by heavy shelling, advanced on cities and key ports in the south and east, Russia’s president said in a 90-minute call to his French counterpart he was “prepared to go all the way”, the French official said.

Putin said Moscow aimed to take “full control” of the country by diplomatic or military means and repeated his objective was what he claimed was the “neutralisation, demilitarisation and de-nazification” of Ukraine, the official said.

Macron had responded that Putin was making a “major mistake” that would cost Russia dearly over the long term. “There was nothing in what President Putin said to reassure us,” the official said, adding that Macron had told him he was “lying to himself”.

As talks between Russian and Ukrainian negotiators got under way, the Russian leader said separately that the invasion – which Russia still calls a “special military operation” – was going according to plan and praised Russia’s soldiers as heroes. “All the tasks that have been set are being successfully resolved,” he said.

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