There are now no longer any moral or actual grounds to call the Russian and Ukrainian peoples "brothers," Ukrainian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Oleg Nikolenko wrote on Facebook on April 13.
He was reacting to an earlier statement by French President Emmanuel Macron that Ukrainians and Russians were “brothers.”
In a television interview with public broadcaster France 2 on April 13, Macron refused to describe Russian actions in Ukraine as "genocide," adding that he "would be careful with such terms today because these two peoples (Russians and Ukrainians) are brothers."
"Ukraine and Russia are historically close for objective reasons, but the myth of the two fraternal peoples of Russia and Ukraine began to crumble after the occupation of the Crimea and the aggression in the Donbas in 2014," Nikolenko said.
He stressed that the Russian "brothers" had allegedly come then to protect the Russian-speaking population. However, 14,000 Ukrainians have been killed over eight years.
"This myth was finally shattered when the first Russian missiles flew into Ukrainian cities in February," Nikolenko said.
“’Fraternal' people do not kill children, do not shoot civilians, do not rape women, do not mutilate the elderly and do not destroy the homes of other 'fraternal' people. Even the fiercest enemies do not resort to atrocities against defenseless people."
He added that Macron's unwillingness to recognize the genocide of Ukrainians was disappointing.