Emmanuel Macron hails Minsk breakthrough as Moscow and Kyiv agree to talks

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky brushed aside a remark from Vladimir Putin calling Ukraine his “beauty,” amid tensions over Moscow’s buildup of troops on the border.

In a joint news conference with French President Emmanuel Macron in Moscow yesterday, Mr Putin criticised Mr Zelensky, who recently said he does not like the 2015 Minsk peace agreements on the country’s separatist conflict.

“Like it or not, my beauty, you have to put up with it,” Mr Putin said, using an expression that rhymes in Russian.

The remark sparked heated debate online, with many accusing Mr Putin of using the kind of language that can justify rape.

“Of course, there are things that you can’t argue about with the Russian president: Ukraine is indeed a beauty,” Mr Zelensky, who is a former comedian, said after talks with the French president.

The 44-year-old leader added during a joint news conference, “when he calls Ukraine ‘mine’ I believe that’s already too much.”