French Prime Minister Emmanuel Macron was left convinced that "the worst is yet to come" with the Russia-Ukraine war after speaking with Russian President Vladimir Putin in a lengthy phone conversation on Thursday.
What are the details?
A senior Élysée Palace official told reporters following the 90-minute phone conversation, which Putin initiated, that a diplomatic breakthrough is nowhere in sight. It was the third call between the two leaders since Russia invaded Ukraine last week.
Macron, in fact, believes "the worst is yet to come."
"Without making a prediction, we should expect the worst is yet to come. The (French) president said so yesterday as well. There is nothing in what Putin said today that should reassure us," the French official said, CNN reported.
The French official also revealed that Putin told Macron he plans to "continue military interventions and to go all the way" — meaning Putin wants to take over Ukraine.
"Our analysis of the military operations is that the Russian ambitions are to take control of all of Ukraine," the French official said.
Macron warned Putin against continuing military operations, reportedly telling his Russian counterpart that Russia "will pay dearly because it will end up as an isolated country, weakened and under sanctions for a very long time."
Russian state news agency RIA-Novosti reported on the call by saying the "the special military operation" — the propaganda phrase Russian officials are using to refer to their illegal invasion of Ukraine — "will be fulfilled in any case," and warned that "attempts to gain time by dragging negotiations will only lead to additional requirements for Kyiv," the Washington Post reported.
Putin's threats to intensify his war come after Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov warned on Wednesday that a third world war would involve nuclear weapons.
The threat was particularly jarring because Putin placed Russia's nuclear forces on high alert last week, and Russia's plans could involve attacking other countries in eastern Europe, thus provoking a response from western allied powers.