The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday denounced comments by French President Emmanuel Macron that Moscow was becoming a vassal state to China.
The Russian criticism focused on an exclusive interview with Macron published in the Sunday edition of the Paris daily newspaper l’Opinion last weekend, in which the French president discussed shifting international allegiances as a consequence of the war in Ukraine.
“Europe’s security architecture will have to fully secure the Ukraine of tomorrow,” Macron said in the interview. “But it will have to conceive of a non-confrontation with Russia and rebuild sustainable balances.”
As for the present situation, the French president claimed that Russia “has de facto started a form of vassalisation with China and has lost access to the Baltic that was critical to it as it has precipitated the decision by Sweden and Finland to join NATO.”
“This was unthinkable two years ago.”
Macron’s criticism appeared to focus on talks in Moscow that took place in March between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese leader Xi Jinping. They announced at the time that they were deepening their strategic partnership by entering “a new era” of ties in continuation of a previous agreement made a month before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, when Putin and Xi declared a “no limits” partnership between the two nations.
Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said Russia’s relations with China were those of a strategic partner and had nothing to do with dependence.
In a statement on the Russian Foreign Ministry’s French website, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko said Paris and the “collective West” had become preoccupied with Moscow’s strengthened relations with China.
Grushko opened his statement by mocking the West’s “incantations” about “the impending and almost inevitable victory of the Kiev regime” and “the practically collapsed Russian economy under the weight of sanctions.”
“The West is frightened as a whole by the formation of a truly multilateral system of international relations that is unfolding before our eyes, one that includes several independent centers, including Russia and China,” the deputy minister continued.
“Within this evolving world landscape, it is inevitable that Emmanuel Macron, along with other Western leaders, will have to accept the reality of strong, equitable, and mutually respectful relations between Moscow and Beijing, a factor whose importance and influence on international relations will only grow.”
Reuters contributed to this report.