No country in Europe can pressure Russia – Ukraine’s Zelensky
There is no European country that can make Russia change its course, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky claimed on Tuesday, at a joint press conference with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron.
Speaking to journalists in Kiev after his meeting with Macron, Zelensky explained he doesn’t believe that Moscow feels pressure from any other country on the European continent.
“I don’t know of a [nation] in Europe that is capable of putting severe pressure on Russia,” the comedian-turned-politician said. “At the very least, the de-occupation of our country is not happening yet.”
The French leader came to Kiev to discuss the rising tensions on the Ukrainian border with Russia. The day before meeting Zelensky, Macron visited Moscow, where he held a five-hour-long talk with President Vladimir Putin.
Later this week, the French president will meet with the German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. The discussions come as Moscow stands accused of placing more than 100,000 soldiers on the frontier, with some believing this is a sign of an impending military incursion. Macron is seeking to act as a peacemaker.
Putin, Zelensky, Scholz, and Macron represent the four countries of the Normandy Format, a group founded to seek an end to the war in Eastern Ukraine. With this goal in mind, the four countries signed the Minsk Protocol in 2014. In the years since, many aspects of the treaty are yet to be implemented, although France, Russia, and Germany have repeatedly stated that it remains the basis for the resolution of the conflict.
Recent discussions between Russia, Ukraine, and the West come as tensions remain high over accusations that Moscow is preparing an invasion. The Kremlin has denied these suggestions, and has repeatedly assured the West it has no plans for a military operation.
Meetings have also been held to discuss a range of security proposals put forward by Russia, with the eventual aim of creating a legally binding agreement to ensure peace in Europe.
In particular, Russia has opposed the eastward expansion of NATO to Ukraine and Georgia, and is concerned that the bloc’s infrastructure is moving closer to its borders.