Russia has ‘will to maintain Ukraine’s stability and integrity’, Macron says after meeting with Putin

“There is no security for Europeans if there is no security for Russia.” After a five-hour tête-à-tête in Moscow with his Russian counterpart, French President Emmanuel Macron declared on Monday February 7 that he had offered Vladimir Putin to “build concrete guarantees of security” for all the states involved in the Ukrainian crisis.

“President Putin assured me of his readiness to commit to this logic and of his desire to maintain the stability and territorial integrity of Ukraine”he added, during a joint press conference.

While the Russian head of state underlined his disagreements with NATO, the French president summarized his objectives: “short-term military stability” and “that the dialogue that has been established between Russia, the United States and Europeans continue to build solutions with the objective of everyone’s security”.

Emmanuel Macron reminded Vladimir Putin that the Baltic countries and other bordering European countries had “the same fears” security than those mentioned by Russia. And they have “the feeling that agreements have been violated” with the deployment of Russian troops, he added.

Emmanuel Macron promised to“intensify contacts” with all of its partners to “building new solutions”. “We sketched out a few leads in our head-to-head”he continued. “We will speak again in a few days”he announced.

“I’m sure we’ll get a result. It’s not easy but I’m sure of it.”

Emmanuel Macron, President of the Republic

at a press conference in Moscow

The press conference, however, highlighted deep differences between the two men, illustrated by a tense tone at the end of the session. “Whoever believes in Europe must know how to work with Russia. Is it easy? No. Is there an element of ingratitude? Yes. Should it be abandoned? No (…) We have disagreements, we assume them”pleaded Emmanuel Macron.

“Ukraine is a country with borders around which there are 125,000 Russian soldiers. It makes you nervous”has the French president. “We are at a level of incandescence that Europe has rarely known”he said again.

The French presidency assured after the press conference that the two leaders had several points of agreement, which they did not mention during the press conference. Moscow has notably agreed, according to Paris, to withdraw its soldiers at the end of the maneuvers in progress in Belarus. The Elysée also cites the commitment of the two parties to “not to take new military initiatives, which makes it possible to envisage de-escalation”.

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