The French president has insisted that any deal to end the conflict with Russia must not involve “capitulation” by Kiev French President Emmanuel Macron arrives at the Ukraine conference on Saturday in Switzerland. © Keystone/EDA/Alessandro della Valle/Anadolu via Getty Images

French President Emmanuel Macron has argued that Ukraine must not capitulate to Russian demands to bring lasting peace to the former Soviet republic.

Speaking on Saturday at the so-called “Summit on Peace in Ukraine” in Switzerland, Macron called for involving more countries in the process of trying to end the conflict with Russia. However, Moscow was not invited to the conference, prompting the Kremlin to argue that the talks are meaningless.

“All of us are committed to building a sustainable peace,” Macron said. “Such a peace cannot be a Ukrainian capitulation. There is one aggressor and one victim.” He added that any agreement to end the fighting must restore Ukraine’s sovereignty and respect “international rule.”

The talks in Switzerland come at a time when Russian troops are making steady battlefield gains against Kiev’s outmanned and outgunned forces. Russian President Vladimir Putin said last week that Ukraine was losing at least 50,000 troops per month, while Moscow was incurring unspecified casualties at a fraction of that rate.

Zelensky responds to Putin’s peace offer Zelensky responds to Putin’s peace offer

Nevertheless, Macron and other Western leaders have insisted that Russia must not be allowed to win, and they pledged to continue to provide additional weaponry and economic aid to Kiev “for as long as it takes.”

Macron has been a leading proponent of a deeper NATO involvement in the conflict, calling for a coalition of countries to send military trainers into Ukraine. He also has suggested that NATO members should not rule out deploying military personnel at some point.

Russian officials have claimed that Western leaders torpedoed a tentative March 2022 peace deal between Moscow and Kiev that would have ended the fighting just a few weeks after it began.

US and Polish leaders were “alarmed” when they saw the 2022 draft peace deal, which was negotiated in Istanbul, the New York Times reported on Saturday. The newspaper posted three documents purported to be from the negotiations, including a treaty text proposed by the Ukrainian side.

According to the documents, Ukraine agreed under the proposal to pledge “permanent neutrality” in exchange for security guarantees from the US, UK, France, Russia and China. The plan did not sit well withUS officials, who saw it as “unilateral disarmament” by Ukraine, the report said.

Putin said on Friday that Moscow would order a ceasefire and start peace talks if Kiev agreed to several conditions, including the ceding of all five formerly Ukrainian regions that voted in referendums to become part of Russia. Zelensky immediately rejected the offer, calling it an “ultimatum.” (RT)