French President Emmanuel Macron flew to Moscow on Monday in an attempt to persuade Russian President Vladimir Putin to ease tensions with Ukrainewhere Western powers fear the Kremlin has an invasion plan.
Moscow gave the visit a cautious welcome, saying it would listen to Macron’s ideas, but did not expect a breakthrough.
Russia has deployed more than 100,000 troops near the Ukrainian border. They deny planning an invasion, but say they could take unspecified military measures if their demands are not met, including NATO’s promise never to admit Kyiv.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia was aware of Macron’s plan to de-escalate tensions. But he added: “The situation is too complicated to expect decisive breakthroughs in the course of a meeting.”
“In recent days, there is nothing new on the topic of ensuring security for Russia, our Western interlocutors do not want to bring up this topic,” added Peskov.
Macron phoned his Western allies, Putin and the Ukrainian leader ahead of the visit and will continue on Tuesday with a trip to Kyiv, drawing a lot of political capital into a task that could be embarrassing if he returned empty-handed.
“We have to be very realistic,” Macron told the Journal du Dimanche in an interview during the formulation of the mission.
“We will not take unilateral gestures, but it is essential to prevent the situation from worsening before building mechanisms and gestures of reciprocity of trust.”
Two sources close to Macron say one purpose of his visit is to buy time and freeze the situation for several months, at least until the “Super April” of the European elections – in Hungary, Slovenia and especially for Macron, in France.
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The French leader, who is known for his highly publicized diplomatic forums since he came to power in 2017, has managed to both confront and confront Putin over the past five years.
Immediately after being elected, Macron rolled out the red carpet https://www.reuters.com/article/us-france-russia-idUSKBN18P030 for Putin at the Palace of Versailles, but also use the visit
to openly criticize Russian interference in the election. Two years later, the star couple met at the summer residence of the French president.
Eastern European countries that suffered decades of Soviet rule have criticized Macron’s approach to Russia, while talking about negotiating a “new European security order”.
To fend off critics ahead of the trip and assume a leadership role for Europe in this crisis, Macron has attempted to consult with other Western leaders, including Britain’s Boris Johnson. and US President Joe Biden.
However, unlike the previous Ukraine crisis in 2015 when German Chancellor Angela Merkel and former French President Francois Hollande traveled together to the Kremlin, Macron did not bring his German counterpart with him.
Olaf Scholz is going to Kyiv and then Moscow next week. His foreign minister, Annalena Baerbock, will travel to Kyiv on Monday to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and will visit the conflict zone in eastern Ukraine on Tuesday.
The French President’s visit to Moscow and Ukraine comes less than three months before the presidential election in his homeland. His political advisers see a potential election dividend, though Macron has yet to announce whether he will run.
“For the president, it was an opportunity to demonstrate his leadership in Europe. A French government source said.
(Reporting by Michel Rose, additional reporting by Dmitry Antonov in Moscow; Editing by David Gregorio and Andrew Heavens)
https://globalnews.ca/news/8600053/macron-russia-ukraine-tensions/ French President Macron to Russia in an attempt to defuse Ukraine tensions – National