Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said he has invited French President Emmanuel Macron to visit Ukraine to see evidence that Russian forces have committed “genocide,” a term Macron has avoided using.
“I talked to him yesterday,” Zelenskiy told CNN in an interview recorded on April 15 and broadcast on April 17.
“I just told him I want him to understand that this is not war, but nothing other than genocide. I invited him to come when he will have the opportunity. He’ll come and see, and I’m sure he will understand,” Zelenskiy said.
Macron is in the midst of a heated election campaign against far-right politician Marine Le Pen. The second round in the vote is set for April 24.
The Ukrainian leader said he also believes that U.S. President Joe Biden should visit the country at some point, although the White House has said there are no immediate plans for the 79-year-old president to make the potentially risky journey.
“I think he will” come, Zelenskiy said. “But it’s his decision, of course, and about the safety situation, it depends. But I think he’s the leader of the United States, and that’s why he should come here to see.”
The White House is reportedly considering sending other top officials to Ukraine, such as Secretary of State Antony Blinken or Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin. Biden on April 13 said his administration will decide on the matter soon.
A growing list of European leaders have visited Kyiv in recent weeks, with the most high-profile being British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Johnson traveled to the Ukrainian town of Bucha, where officials said hundreds of civilians were “simply shot in the streets” by occupying Russian forces.
After his visit to the devastated town outside of Kyiv, Johnson said evidence of a massacre by Russian troops “doesn’t look far short of genocide to me.”