Russian President Vladimir Putin told France’s Emmanuel Macron he would rather play “ice hockey” than hold talks with US President Joe Biden about averting war in Ukraine, according to a report in The Telegraph† The development came just four days before the Russian invasion began, the outlet said.
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Mr Putin had a nine-minute conversation with Mr Macron in February, where the disparaging comments were made. The details of this conversation will be revealed in a documentary to be broadcast on Thursday on France 2, the main state television channel, the newspaper said. The Telegraph†
The talk ended with Mr Macron’s proposal to Mr Putin to hold a last minute summit with the US president. While the Russian president wasn’t against the idea, he didn’t seem interested in fixing a date, according to the UK-based emphatically†
“To be honest, I wanted to play ice hockey,” the outlet quoted him as saying in the phone call.
“Here I will talk to you from the sports hall before I start the physical exertion. But first I will talk to my advisers,” Putin continued.
The Russian leader also criticized Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, accusing him of “doing nothing” to implement the Minsk accords. emphatically†
Another conversation Mr Putin had with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will also be featured in the documentary.
Meanwhile, amid the ongoing war, Putin warned Finland and Sweden on Wednesday that Moscow will respond if they welcome NATO troops and military infrastructure into their territory.
Speaking at a press conference in Turkmenistan, Mr Putin said: “We just need to understand clearly and precisely – although there was no threat before, in the case of military contingents and military infrastructure deployed there, we will have to respond symmetrically and face the same threats in those areas from which threats to us have arisen,” the Russian president said as quoted by CNN.
He also said that Russia would not care if Sweden and Finland join NATO.