July 2, 2022

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French President Emmanuel Macron, center, chairs the Defense Council at the Elysee Palace in Paris on Monday. (Yoan Valat/Pool/AP)

A spokesman for France’s Elysee Palace says he fears Ukrainian civilians will be targeted “on a large scale” in a Russian invasion.

The concerns were revealed during a press conference with journalists, on Monday, after a phone call from French President Emmanuel Macron with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The spokesperson also expressed his readiness to support Ukraine’s aspirations to join the European Union amid the escalation of the Russian offensive in Ukraine.

As for the call between Macron and Putin, the spokesman noted that “it is desirable to preserve all possible options to try to break out of the current maelstrom.”

A palace spokesman described Putin as “following the logic of the attack. So in the current situation, there are very serious risks of seeing Russia expand its operations at significant human, political, strategic and economic cost.”

After a follow-up question, the spokesman added: “There are good reasons to fear that civilians will be targeted extensively and without precautions by the Russians.”

A spokesman for the Elysee Palace also commented on the public request of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that the European Union consider accepting Ukraine as a member.

“There is a consensus among us that the European Union will emerge transformed from this ordeal, from this crisis,” the spokeswoman said. “In this context, I think that everyone is well aware of the fact that Ukraine is a country in the heart of Europe, that Ukraine is a country whose destiny is important to us, its democratic choice is important to us and we want it to be able to support its aspirations.”

However, they directed the palace’s support by noting that “we must be careful not to make promises that we cannot keep, not only to Ukraine, but also to all countries throughout Russia that have close relations with Europe, which are themselves European countries.”