Putin and Macron agree on Ukraine measures
Russian President Vladimir Putin and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron have agreed to take urgent measures to halt escalation of conflict in eastern Ukraine, the Elysee Palace said in a statement.
During their Sunday phone conversation requested by Paris, the leaders agreed to resume work within the framework of the Normandy format, which consists of French, German, Russian, and Ukrainian leadership. It was also decided that a meeting of the trilateral contact group would be held “in the next few hours” in order to “obtain a commitment from all the stakeholders” to cease fire on the line of contact.
A meeting between French and Russian ministers of foreign affairs, Jean-Yves Le Drian and Sergey Lavrov, would take place “in the coming days,” with diplomatic work due to intensify in general, Paris said. Russia’s Foreign Ministry later told RT that the call is planned for Monday, since Le Drian was not immediately available.
According to the French presidency, it would involve all the stakeholders, i.e. the Europeans, allies, Russians, and Ukrainians, and would be poised, subject to conditions met, to make possible “a meeting at the highest level to define a new order of peace and security in Europe.”
The Kremlin confirmed that “the two leaders agreed to maintain contact at various levels,” but did not provide any specific details on such plans.
“Serious concerns were expressed due to the quickly deteriorating situation along the contact line in Donbass. The President of Russia noted that provocations from Ukrainian militants were the reason for the escalation,” Moscow said in a statement.
Putin also drew Macron’s attention “to the modern weapons and ammunition being sent to Ukraine by NATO member countries.” In Russia’s opinion, these actions are “encouraging Kiev to pursue a military solution to the Donbass problem.” As a result of “the intensifying attacks,” civilians in the self-proclaimed breakaway republics in eastern Ukraine had to evacuate to Russia, the statement said.
Right after his conversation with Putin, Macron talked to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky who, according to the French president’s office, “confirmed his determination not to react to provocations and to respect the ceasefire.”