Mr Macron, who has spoken to Russian president Vladimir Putin regularly during the conflict in a bid to forge negotiations between the two parties, said ensuring that Russia was not humiliated would make it more possible to end the war through “diplomatic means”.
However, the Ukrainian government hit out at his words, saying that they only “humiliate France”.
Ukraine’s foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, said: “Calls to avoid humiliation of Russia can only humiliate France and every other country that would call for it. Because it is Russia that humiliates itself. We all better focus on how to put Russia in its place. This will bring peace and save lives.”
Mr Macron’s comments were in an interview with a group of French regional newspapers.
He said: "We must not humiliate Russia so that the day when the fighting stops we can build an exit ramp through diplomatic means," Macron said in an interview to regional newspapers published on Saturday. "I am convinced that it is France's role to be a mediating power."
He added: "I think, and I told him, that he is making a historic and fundamental mistake for his people, for himself and for history.”