Putin warns Macron that Ukraine is being ‘pumped up’ with Western weaponry
Ukraine is being “pumped up” with modern weapons, which pose a “direct threat” to Russia, President Vladimir Putin told his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron in a phone conversation on Tuesday.
The call between the two leaders took place amid fresh tensions between Russia and NATO over the situation in eastern Ukraine and the US-led bloc’s plans for further expansion to the east. Moscow has been preparing draft documents for a legally binding treaty that would prevent such a situation.
Putin told Macron that Kiev was “purposefully exacerbating” the situation the breakaway Donbass, “with the connivance of a number of Western countries,” the Kremlin said in a statement following the talk. The region is home to two self-declared republics which have been outside Ukraine's control since shortly after the 2014 Maidan.
Putin provided Macron with “specific examples of Kiev’s disruption of the Minsk agreements,” calling these commitments “an uncontested basis for resolving the internal Ukrainian crisis.” Putin made similar points in his Monday conversation with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
The president has also reiterated his call for urgent talks to stop NATO’s eastward expansion.
“The Russian leader called on the French partners to meet these concerns with understanding and to engage in discussing them,” says the Kremlin’s readout of the call, adding that it was initiated by Macron.
Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov earlier warned that NATO would face “dire consequences” if it continued to pose a threat to Russia’s security.
Members of the bloc have meanwhile insisted they are concerned for the “territorial integrity of Ukraine,” warning Russia that “any destabilizing action against Ukraine” would have significant consequences for Moscow.