Macron Meets With Putin in Moscow, Seeks to ‘Avoid War’

Jack Phillips
By Jack Phillips
February 7, 2022Europeshare
Macron Meets With Putin in Moscow, Seeks to ‘Avoid War’
French President Emmanuel Macron (R) welcomes Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Fort of Bregancon in Bormes-les-Mimosas, southern France, on Aug. 19, 2019. (Gerard Julien/Pool via AP)

In a bid to avert a conflict in Ukraine, French President Emmanuel Macron met with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday in Moscow.

During their meeting, Macron told Putin he is seeking a “useful” response “that, of course, allows us to avoid war and to build bricks of trust, stability, [and] visibility.”

Putin, meanwhile, said Russia and France shared “a common concern about what is happening in the security sphere in Europe.”

“I see how much efforts the current leadership of France and the president personally is applying in order to solve the crisis related to providing equal security in Europe for a serious historical perspective,” Putin said.

The talks come as Russia has amassed thousands of troops near its border with Ukraine and also reportedly is carrying out war drills in Belarus in what Russian officials say is a routine exercise.

Over the past weekend, White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan told several Sunday morning TV programs that he believes Russia will invade Ukraine in the coming days.

“If war breaks out, it will come at an enormous human cost to Ukraine, but we believe that based on our preparations and our response, it will come at a strategic cost to Russia as well,” Sullivan said in public remarks on Sunday. Russia has denied that it wants to invade Ukraine.

Also on Monday, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, ahead of his first meeting with President Joe Biden, told the Washington Post that should Russia invade its neighbor, the Kremlin will pay a hefty price.

“We are ready to take together with our allies all necessary steps,” Scholz said in response to speculation that Germany could cancel the Russia-to-Germany Nord Stream 2 pipeline before adding: “It is absolutely clear that in a situation like this all options are on the table. Please understand that I will not get into any specifics, but our answer will be united and decisive.”

Tanks of the Ukrainian Armed Forces
A service member walks past tanks of a mechanized brigade of the Ukrainian Armed Forces during military exercises outside Kharkiv, Ukraine, on Jan. 31, 2022. (Vyacheslav Madiyevskyy/Reuters)

Before their meeting in Moscow, which was captured on video and in photos, Macron told Le Journal du Dimanche that it is “indispensable” to deescalate “the situation before we build mechanisms and gestures of reciprocal trust.” The French confirmed that he will speak to Putin about the terms for de-escalation.

But Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters that it’s not likely there will be a breakthrough in just one meeting.

“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,” Peskov said, according to the Reuters news agency.

Previously, both the United States and NATO have ruled out defending Ukraine with military force, saying they would instead respond to a potential Russian invasion with sanctions, arms shipments, and other deterrent measures. Last week, Biden ordered the deployment of about 3,000 troops in Poland and Romania as part of a NATO agreement.

Russia in 2014 annexed the Crimean Peninsula and started funding separatist rebel groups in the Donbas region. Moscow has demanded that Ukraine not join NATO, an idea the United States and its Western allies have rejected.

From The Epoch Times

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