“I’m Talking To You From The Gym”: The Story Of The Surreal Phone Conversation Between Macron And Putin

On Sunday morning, February 20, the camera stops on the diplomatic adviser to the president, Emmanuel Bonne, surrounded by three employees, in his office at 2, rue de l’Élysée. The French president, who had gone to Moscow and Kiev a few days earlier, began a last-ditch mediation to avoid war. The four members of the diplomatic cell of the Élysée monitor their telephone exchange from a distance ” boss “ with the master of the Kremlin.

“You see for yourself what is going on”

Emmanuel Macron seems firm, offensive, a bit coercive, even brittle. Vladimir Putin does not give up, is annoyed. “Listen to Me”he throws at her. Behind some Russian expressions of politeness, irony, even cynicism is never far away. The French president opens the conversation, without detour: “I would like you to give me your reading of the situation first and perhaps very directly, as we both do, tell me what your intentions are”he said.

“What can I say? You see for yourself what’s going on.”replies Vladimir Putin, referring to the Minsk accords that are supposed to bring peace to eastern Ukraine, where pro-Russian separatists have been active since Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014. He accuses Volodymyr Zelensky of saying he has nuclear weapons. wanted to acquire. “No, whatever”says Emmanuel Macron.

” We do not care ! “

“In fact, our dear colleague, Mr Zelensky, does nothing” (to apply them). He’s lying to you”, he attacks, according to the translation of the documentary, speaking of the Ukrainian president. The Kremlin master accuses his French counterpart of wanting “review agreements” and asks that the separatists’ peace proposals be taken into account.

Emmanuel Macron protests against the demonstration of his interlocutor: “I don’t know where your lawyer learned the law. I just look at the lyrics and try to apply them! †, he says. Vladimir Putin returns to the charge and regrets that the separatists are not being heard. “We don’t care about the separatists’ proposals! †, the French president concludes, adding that this is not provided for in the agreement. But the tenant of the Elysée also acts as an intermediary. He proposes a meeting of all parties. “I’m going to demand this from Zelensky right away”he maintains.

“The situation on the contact line is very tense. I actually called Zelensky yesterday to calm down. I will tell him again, calm down everyone, calm down in social networks, calm down the armed forces of Ukraine”, he promises. He invites his counterpart to do the same with the Russian troops deployed on the border with Ukraine. “Do not give in to provocations of any kind in the coming hours and days”he also warns.

” We’ll keep in touch “

Emmanuel Macron finally arrives at the goal of his call, to convince Vladimir Poutine to accept a meeting with American Joe Biden in Geneva to attempt a de-escalation at the top. Vladimir Putin isn’t thrilled, let alone the idea of ​​setting a date. “Above all, we must prepare this meeting in advance”, he insists. Emmanuel Macron finally grabs a “agree in principle”

In the process, the Elysée will announce an upcoming Biden-Putin summit, which will not take place. “We keep in touch in real time. As soon as there is something, you call me”Emmanuel Macron eventually slips him. “Thank you, Mr. President. ‘, Putin concludes in French. Four days later, the report will be bitter. “We didn’t convince him, he invaded Ukraine,” los Emmanuel Macron, unpainted, in front of Guy Lagache’s camera.