Mr Macron has been seeking a diplomatic resolution to avoid a Russian invasion of Ukraine, however his efforts have so far failed as Putin ordered Russian troops into eastern Ukraine earlier this week. Both Marine Le Pen, who will challenge Macron for the presidency at France’s elections in April, and Jean-Luc Melenchon have mocked Macron’s handling of the situation.
Ms Le Pen, leader of the far-right National Rally party, said: “I wondered whether he was really acting as President in this whole process, or whether he was looking to win the Nobel Peace Prize”.
Left-wing politician Mr Melenchon criticised President Macron’s “dismal record in the whole affair”, saying: “It is useless to hope that he will do better.”
However Macron has accused Putin of backtracking on a deal in principle to continue their talks with US President Joe Biden.
A senior source said: “Putin has not kept his word.
“For the time being, no new contacts are planned.”
President Macron’s former Europe minister and French MEP Nathalie Loiseau also defended his efforts, saying: “Even if the chances of a diplomatic solution in the Ukraine crisis are small, we have to try.”
Yet German MEP Reinhard Bütikofer criticised Macron’s softer approach to dealing with Putin.
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Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said that EU countries will impose a limited set of sanctions against those responsible for Russia’s recognition of the separatist regions Donetsk and Luhansk.
The UK, US, Poland, Japan, Canada and Australia have all said they are ready to impose sanctions on Russia due to its military action in Ukraine.
However, Russian allies Syria and Nicaragua have defended Putin’s decision to recognise the two breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine.