The Russian president feels bitter towards the West and believes it wants to annihilate his country, the French leader has said
French President Emmanuel Macron sees "resentment" in Russian President Vladimir Putin's eyes, due to his belief that the West seeks to destroy his country.
Speaking to CBS News on Sunday, Macron was asked to give his own take on what he sees in Putin's eyes, as former US President George W. Bush famously did in 2001 when he said, "I found him to be very straightforward and trustworthy."
The French president replied that he sees "a sort of a resentment," which he believes is aimed at the Western world, including the EU and US, and it is underpinned by "the feeling that our perspective was to destroy Russia."
"I don't believe this is our perspective. It has never been our perspective in France," Macron said, adding that during negotiations with his Russian counterpart, he sensed Putin's view of his own destiny.
"There was this clear awareness of how the Russian people were [a] great people, with great history," Macron said. "And his perspective and probably his destiny was to restore, perhaps, an empire."
The French leader noted that he has attempted to keep dialogue with Putin open amid the Ukraine conflict. "I always maintain regular discussions and direct contact with President Putin. Because I believe that the best way to reengage is to preserve this direct channel," he said, adding that "isolation is the worst thing," especially for a leader like Putin.
While France has condemned Moscow's military operation in the neighboring state and has taken part in the Western sanctions on Russia, Macron last week insisted that NATO should prepare eventual guarantees for Russian security for the time when the conflict in Ukraine is settled.
Last December, Russia presented a list of security demands to the US and NATO, asking the West to impose a ban on Ukraine entering the military bloc, while insisting that NATO should retreat to its borders as of 1997 before it expanded. The demands were dismissed by the West.