In an interview published Saturday, French President Emmanuel Macron said allowing Russia to save face could help bring a negotiated end to the war in Ukraine. "We must not humiliate Russia so that the day when the fighting stops we can build an exit ramp through diplomatic means," he said.
So far, though, Russian President Vladimir Putin shows no signs of backing down. In an interview broadcast Sunday, he threatened to "strike at those targets which we have not yet been hitting" if Western countries provided long-range missiles to Ukraine.
The French president's remarks drew swift condemnation from Ukraine. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba tweeted that "[c]alls to avoid humiliation of Russia can only humiliate France and every other country that would call for it."
Russian forces are close to capturing the entirety of Luhansk Oblast. The twin cities of Sievierodonetsk and Lysychansk form the last major pocket of Ukrainian resistance in Luhansk.
Russian forces seized control of most of the city last week, but Sievierodonetsk Mayor Oleksandr Striuk said Saturday that, following a Ukrainian counteroffensive, Sievierodonetsk's residential districts were "divided in half" between Russian and Ukrainian forces.
"Street battles are being fought, which is accompanied by constant artillery shelling. The situation is quite tense, but ... [t]he city remains Ukrainian," Striuk said.
Update 12:30 p.m. ET: This story has been updated to include Russian President Vladimir Putin's threat to strike new targets.