- Macron said it would take time to find a diplomatic solution to the rising Ukraine tensions
- There is a biggest security crisis between Russia and the West since Cold War
- Macron met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy amid mounting fears of a Russian invasion
French President Emmanuel Macron said on Tuesday that Russian President Vladimir Putin told him that Moscow would not further escalate the Ukraine crisis.
Macron also said it would take time to find a diplomatic solution to the rising tensions, which represent the biggest security crisis between Russia and the West since the Cold War.
His remarks on a visit to Kyiv came as the Kremlin denied reports that he and Putin struck a deal on de-escalating the crisis. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that “in the current situation, Moscow and Paris can’t be reaching any deals.”
Macron met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy amid mounting fears of a Russian invasion. Moscow has massed over 100,000 troops near Ukraine’s borders, but insists it has no plans to attack.
The Kremlin wants guarantees from the West that NATO will not accept Ukraine and other former Soviet nations as members, that it halt weapon deployments there and roll back its forces from Eastern Europe- demands the U.S. and NATO reject as nonstarters.
At a news conference after meeting Zelenskyy, Macron said Putin told him during their more than five-hour session Monday that “he won’t be initiating an escalation. I think it is important.”
According to the French president, Putin also said there won’t be any Russian “permanent (military) base” or “deployment” in Belarus, where Russia had sent a large number of troops for war games.
Peskov said withdrawing Russian troops from Belarus after the maneuvers was the plan all along.
Zelenskyy said he would welcome concrete steps from Putin for de-escalation, adding he didn’t “trust words in general.”
Macron also sought to temper expectations.
“Let’s not be naive,” he said. “Since the beginning of the crisis, France hasn’t been inclined to exaggerate, but at the same time, I don’t believe this crisis can be settled in a few hours, through discussions”
Zelenskyy called his talks with Macron “very fruitful.”
“We have a common view with President Macron on threats and challenges to the security of Ukraine, of the whole of Europe, of the world in general,” Zelenskyy said.