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Crisis in Ukraine: Emmanuel Macron says he is “reassured by President Vladimir Putin” and wants to “build Europe with Russia”

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After 5:30 a.m. interview, Vladimir Putin and Emmanuel Macron gave a joint press conference on Monday evening largely dedicated to the Ukrainian crisis. The Head of State said he was “reassured” by his Russian counterpart who promised him that he wanted to do everything “to find compromises”.

First to speak, Vladimir Putin repeated his demands in order to begin a de-escalation of tensions in Ukraine. “The non-expansion of NATO, the non-deployment of combat systems on the Russian border,” reiterated the Russian president.

“By repositioning its military infrastructure next to the Russian border, NATO believes itself capable of lecturing us on where and how we should deploy our forces, and demanding that we not organize the planned maneuvers,” Vladimir continued. Putin denouncing “a Russophobic policy”. “NATO is a threat against Russia,” he said.

“NATO is a threat to Russia”, says Vladimir Putin

For his part, Emmanuel Macron was confident about the continuation of the dialogue. “President Putin assured me of his will to maintain the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine,” he said.

The Head of State noted “elements of convergence” with Russia and indicated that discussions must now continue between the different parties. “We must build Europe with Russia”, he declared then to insist on the need to implement the peace agreements of Minsk, in the east of Ukraine, where 13,000 people died since 2014. Moving forward in this area could be a way out of the crisis, hopes the Elysée.

Emmanuel Macron visits Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelinski on Tuesday.

Before this press conference, Jo Biden had spoken with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. If Russia invades Ukraine, “there will be no more” Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, warned the American president.

In the first minutes of his dialogue with Vladimir Putin, Emmanuel Macron said this afternoon his desire to “start” a “de-escalation” in the Russian-Western crisis over Ukraine. His Russian counterpart, for his part, welcomed the French efforts “to resolve the question of security in Europe”.

On Twitter, Emmanuel Macron had unveiled a video showing the beginning of the conversation between the two men, placed under the sign of familiarity.

After numerous exchanges with his American, German, Ukrainian and even Polish counterparts, Emmanuel Macron had chosen to take the lead by going directly to the Kremlin.

The first Western head of state to meet Vladimir Putin in person since the start of the crisis, Emmanuel Macron wanted above all to prevent a Russian incursion into Ukraine which would set fire to the powder.

The ‘legitimate’ Russian security issue

“You have to be very realistic. We will not obtain unilateral gestures, but it is essential to avoid a deterioration of the situation before building mechanisms and gestures of mutual trust, ”he commented to the JDD on Sunday.

Far from the martial tone of the Americans, the president explained that he understood the concerns of the two camps. “The security and sovereignty of Ukraine or any other European state cannot be compromised, just as it is legitimate for Russia to raise the question of its own security,” he said. at the JDD.

According to him, “the geopolitical objective of Russia today is clearly not Ukraine, but the clarification of the rules of cohabitation with NATO and the EU”.

Emmanuel Macron on the front line

Hyperactive on the diplomatic scene for several weeks, the head of state wanted to assert the particular position of France – neither pro-Kremlin, nor totally Atlanticist – to play the role of mediator.

Vladimir Putin, who has already spoken three times with the French president since the start of the crisis, seemed to see Emmanuel Macron as a relevant interlocutor. “I want to have a substantive conversation with you, I want to get to the bottom of things,” the master of the Kremlin would have slipped to him during a telephone conversation, if we are to believe the Elysée.

While France has been presiding over the Council of the European Union since January 1 and for six months, Emmanuel Macron sought to put Europe back at the center of the negotiations.

The “Normandy” format, a way out?

In this complex game, France is counting on Germany to revive negotiations in the so-called “Normandy” format, which brings together French, Germans, Ukrainians and Russians with the aim of finding a way out of the war in Donbass, this pro-separatist region. -Russian from Eastern Ukraine.

Stalled for months, the talks on the application of the Minsk agreements (signed in 2014) were relaunched on January 26 in Paris.

The day after his visit to Moscow, Emmanuel Macron will travel to Kiev on Tuesday to meet Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

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