Russian President Vladimir Putin told France’s Emmanuel Macron that 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 further said.
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Mr Putin held a nine-minute conversation with Mr Macron in February, where the contemptuous remarks were made. The details of this conversation will be revealed in a documentary set to air on Thursday on France 2, the main state television channel, according to The Telegraph.
The call ended with Mr Macron suggesting to Mr Putin a last-minute summit with the US President. While the Russian President was not against the idea, he did not appear interested in fixing a date, according to the UK-based express.
“To be honest, I wanted to go play ice hockey,” the outlet quoted him as saying in the phone conversation.
“Here I am talking to you from the sports hall before starting the physical exertion. But first I will talk with my advisors,” Mr Putin further said.
The Russian leader also slammed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, accusing him of “doing nothing” to implement the Minsk accords, reported express.
Another conversation that Mr Putin held with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson will also be shown in the documentary.
Meanwhile, amid the ongoing war, Mr Putin on Wednesday warned Finland and Sweden that if they welcome NATO troops and military infrastructure onto their territory, Moscow will respond.
Addressing a news conference in Turkmenistan, Mr Putin said, “Only we must clearly and precisely understand – while there was no threat before, in the case of military contingents and military infrastructure being deployed there, we will have to respond symmetrically and raise the same threats in those territories from where threats have arisen for us,” Russian President said as quoted by CNN.
He also said that Russia won’t be bothered if Sweden and Finland join NATO.