DIRECT. Ukraine: Russia announces the withdrawal of soldiers from the border, the first sign of a decline in the crisis with the West

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10:14 a.m. : The European Parliament has just validated new financial support from the EU to Ukraine. Amounting to 1.2 billion euros, this support should help the country, threatened with war with Russia, to meet its financial needs. According to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, the EU has already mobilized “17 billion euros in grants and loans” for Ukraine since the beginning of the conflict in 2014.

09:52 : “The units of the Southern and Western military districts, which have completed their tasks, have already started loading on the means of rail and road transport and will start returning to their garrisons today”announced the spokesman of the ministry, Igor Konashenkov, quoted by the Russian news agencies.

09:27 : Russian forces deployed for weeks near the Ukrainian border have begun to return to their garrisons, the Russian Ministry of Defense announced, as Westerners feared an imminent military operation.

09:10 : It’s 9 a.m., here’s a new point on the news:

• Superb silver medal. The French biathletes came second just behind Norway in the men’s relay. Quentin Fillon Maillet thus won his fifth medal in Beijing.

• The West and Moscow have spoken of a chance for a diplomatic outcome to avert the risk of a war in Ukraine, the United States believing that Vladimir Putin had not taken his “final decision” on the outbreak of an invasion. Follow our live.

• After the death of 27 migrants in the English Channel on November 24 at dawn, the maritime prefecture of the Channel had always claimed to have learned of the sinking only at 2 p.m. But Radio France’s Investigation Unit revealed this morning that some of these migrants had indeed dialed 196, the number of the Regional Operational Center for Surveillance and Rescue, that night, to ask for help.

• Valérie Pécresse yesterday denied supporting the conspiracy thesis of the “great replacement”, pillar of the program of her far-right rival Eric Zemmour. On RTL, she declared that she “[savait] that another way is possible”.

07:41 : German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has asked Moscow to “withdraw troops” from the border with Ukraine. “The situation can degenerate at any time” and “we must use all opportunities for dialogue to reach a peaceful solution”, she said. Chancellor Olaf Scholz is expected in Moscow today.

06:04 : Here without further delay a first point on the news:

• Tess Ledeux, already vice-champion in big air skiing at the Olympic Games, placed seventh this morning in the slopestyle final, won by the Swiss Mathide Grémaud. To be continued (on our site) in the morning: the men’s biathlon relay.

• German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is expected in Moscow today in search of a diplomatic solution to avoid a war in Ukraine. Yesterday in Kiev, Olaf Scholz urged Russia to seize the “dialog offers”while more than 100,000 Russian soldiers are massed on the borders of Ukraine.

• Valérie Pécresse defended herself yesterday from endorsing the conspiracy theory of “great replacement”, pillar of the program of his far-right rival Eric Zemmour. On RTL, she declared that she “[savait] that another way is possible”.

• Seven people, including two children under three, died overnight from Sunday to Monday in Saint-Laurent-de-la-Salanque, during a fire triggered by an explosion of unknown origin. Here’s what we know about the drama.

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