Macron and Putin table meeting mocked by hosts
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The news comes as Mr Macron travelled this week to Russia to meet Mr Putin in a face to face meeting. Speaking as an intermediary between the US, EU and Russia, Mr Macron was hopeful talks would douse the flames of tension between Russia and Ukraine as yet more troops from Moscow congregate.
However, in spite of Mr Macron seemingly working hard over the five-hour talks, he left Moscow claiming that more needs to be done to avoid an escalation of the crisis.
Speaking before his trip, Mr Macron said: “The intensity of the dialogue we have had with Russia and this visit to Moscow is likely to prevent a military operation from happening.
“Then we will discuss the terms of de-escalation,”
However, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov rapidly brought Mr Macron back down to earth following the visit.
The senior public diplomacy figure said that he had not heard reports that the head of state Mr Putin, in negotiations with Mr Macron, agreed not to conduct new military manoeuvres near Ukraine.
In a short but frank statement, Mr Peskov said: “I have not heard such reports.”
Mr Macron will now travel to Ukraine and meet with President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Russia has vehemently denied wanting to invade Ukraine.
The Russian Foreign Ministry noted earlier that Western statements about “Russian aggression” and the possibility of helping Kyiv defend itself against it are both ridiculous and dangerous.
At the same time, Kyiv and Western states have recently expressed concern about the alleged increase in “aggressive actions” by Russia near the borders of Ukraine.
Russia has repeatedly stated that is it within its sovereign rights to conduct military exercises and move troops within its own borders.
Ukraine has downplayed the notion that the tension will lead to crisis.
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The former Soviet Republic continues to send a much different message than what US officials are saying concerning a potential Russian invasion.
On Sunday, an aide to Mr Zelensky said a diplomatic solution to the current tensions with Russia is more likely than a military conflict.
The adviser, Mykhailo Podolyak, said: “An honest assessment of the situation suggests that the chance of finding a diplomatic solution for de-escalation is still substantially higher than the threat of further escalation.”
On the same day, Jake Sullivan, President Joe Biden’s national security adviser, continued to hype up the threat of a potential Russian invasion.
He said: “We are in the window. Any day now, Russia could take military action against Ukraine or it could be a couple of weeks from now, or Russia could choose to take the diplomatic path instead.”
CAN EMMANUEL MACRON PULL OFF HIS BROKER DIPLOMACY? IS HE THE RIGHT MAN TO EASE TENSIONS BETWEEN RUSSIA AND UKRAINE? HAS MR MACRON TARNISHED HIS REPUTATION AS A WORLD LEADER? HAVE YOUR SAY IN OUR COMMENTS SECTION BY CLICKING HERE
Ukraine also downplayed US media reports that cited unnamed officials who claimed Russia is close to completing its preparations for an invasion and could topple Kyiv in only a few days.
The US officials also claimed the operation could leave up to 50,000 civilians killed or wounded.
Responding to the reports, Ukraine Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said: “Do not believe the apocalyptic predictions.
“Different capitals have different scenarios, but Ukraine is ready for any development.
“Today, Ukraine has a strong army, unprecedented international support, and Ukrainians’ faith in their country.
“The enemy should be afraid of us, not us of them.”
As Mr Macron continues his diplomatic mission, his visit to Moscow has drawn some criticism from EU analysts, but the French president has taken care to brief fellow European leaders.
He also spoke to President Biden on Sunday to “discuss ongoing diplomatic and deterrence efforts”, according to the White House.
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