French President Emmanuel Macron has informed reporters that Russian President Vladimir Putin has assured him that there would be no further military escalation along the Ukraine border.
“I secured an assurance there would be no deterioration or escalation,” Macron said, who spoke with Putin on Monday. However, Russia has described any suggestion of a guarantee that escalation would not continue as “not right.”
After almost six hours of talks with Putin, Macron traveled to Kyiv, Ukraine, to speak with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. During a press conference with Zelensky, Macron said that there was now potential to make negotiations between Russia and Ukraine “move forward,” and that he could see “concrete solutions.”
Macron noted that there was also a “shared determination” to implement the Minsk agreement, which was signed in September 2014 and (unsuccessfully) sought to end war in the Donbas region of Ukraine.
In an interview with the French weekly Journal du Dimanche prior to meeting with Putin, Macron downplayed the notion that the Russian president is looking to invade Ukraine.
“The intensity of the dialogue we have had with Russia and this visit to Moscow are likely to prevent [a military operation] from happening. Then we will discuss the terms of de-escalation,” he told the Journal, according to a translation provided by Politico. “I have always been in a deep dialogue with President Putin and our responsibility is to build historic solutions.”
Macron then appeared to argue that an expansion of Russian territory was not Putin’s goal.
“The geopolitical objective of Russia today is clearly not Ukraine, but to clarify the rules of cohabitation with NATO and the EU,” Macron said, before implying that Russia’s apparent concerns over their own national security are valid.
“The security and sovereignty of Ukraine or any other European state cannot be a subject for compromise, while it is also legitimate for Russia to pose the question of its own security,” Macron said.
“We have to be very realistic. We will not obtain unilateral moves, but it is essential to avoid a deterioration of the situation before building mechanisms and reciprocal gestures of trust,” Macron said of a deal that could prevent conflict. “We must protect our European brothers by proposing a new balance capable of preserving their sovereignty and peace. This must be done while respecting Russia and understanding the contemporary traumas of this great people and great nation.”
“Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia was aware of Macron’s plans to ease tensions,” Reuters reported.
“The situation is too complex to expect decisive breakthroughs in the course of one meeting,” Peskov said. “In recent days there has been nothing new on the topic of security guarantees for Russia, our Western interlocutors prefer not to mention this topic.”
“I don’t think there are short-term victories,” Macron told reporters. “We can prevent some things in the short term. I don’t believe in spontaneous miracles. There are lots of tensions, nervousness. That’s also why I decided to start the discussion a few weeks ago.”
Ian Haworth is an Editor and Writer for The Daily Wire. Follow him on Twitter at @ighaworth.
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