The conversation was featured in a new two-hour documentary ‘A President, Europe and War’ about the French President and has been criticised by The Kremlin as a breach of “diplomatic etiquette”. The phone call held on February 20 was Macron’s last attempt at attempting to sway Putin away from escalating tensions and sparking war as four days later Russia invaded its neighbour.
The Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov slammed the segment of the documentary saying that the discussion was never made for television.
He added that the publication of the nine-minute discussion broke diplomatic protocol and the assumed confidentiality of such exchanges.
He said: “Diplomatic etiquette does not provide for unilateral leaks of such recordings.”
Maria Zakharova, spokesperson for the Kremlin, also criticised the documentary saying: “When Maron called the Russian President, the entire conversation was recorded by journalists who were filming it.
“This is an example of the odd way they interpret the word diplomacy.”
In a rare move, nations in the West found themselves agreeing with the comments from Russia with diplomats in Paris noting their shock that the segment had been approved to be aired on France 2.
Russian state news has taken the clip from the documentary as evidence of the West not understanding diplomacy and negotiation which will now continue to be used in Russian propaganda.
Ria Novosti, a state news agency in Russia said: “For a long time the French have no longer been respecting diplomatic rules of negotiations.”
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Not only did Macron reach diplomatic protocol with the Russian President, but also with Boris Johnson, the German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky whose conversations were also recorded by the television crew.
Diplomats from embassies in Paris have said that in the future foreign leaders will keep such a breach in mind and will not be as open with Macron.
The conversation with Putin saw Macron saying to the Russian: “I need you to help me a little.
“The situation on the contact line is very tense. I really urged Zelensky to calm down yesterday.”
Putin reportedly took the phone call from his gym while thousands of his troops were amassed on the Russia-Ukraine border.
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Macron asked if Russia’s “military exercises” would end the next day as had been stated, to which Putin replied: “Probably.”
The French President then said: “Do not give in to provocations of any kind in the hours and days to come.”
A conversation between Macron and Boris Johnson saw the Prime Minister voice his concerns at an increasingly frustrated and angry Russian President.
Mr Johnson told Macron: “Every time we talk to Vladimir Putin I get the impression he is more aggressive.
“I find we sound a bit weak. He wants to get what he wants. He won’t stop there.”
In response to the documentary, many commented that the image of Macron as a leader in the diplomatic discussions surrounding the lead up to the war in Ukraine was actually false.
Viewers instead saw President Macron in an unfavourable light where he is manipulated by the Russian President.