Status: 07.02.2022 6:05 p.m
For the first time in more than two years, Russian President Putin and his French counterpart Macron have met. The focus is on the Ukraine conflict. Expectations are low, but the tone is friendly.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron have started talks in Moscow on rising tensions in Europe. Putin thanked Macron in the Kremlin for his commitment to European security. France has also been working for years to find a solution to the Ukraine conflict, he said.
Macron said in greeting that he hoped that the direct conversation would be the beginning of a path to de-escalate the situation. A common answer must be found in order to prevent a war in Europe. Putin and Macron were on first-name terms at their first meeting in more than two years. According to Putin, who had made three crisis calls with Macron in the past few days, the contact was never broken off. After the meeting, Putin and Macron wanted to inform about the conversation at a press conference.
Macron is a welcome guest in Moscow. Even if there have been major discrepancies in the previous phone calls between the two presidents, it was said from the Elysée Palace that Putin had assured Macron that he was currently the only one in Europe with whom he could hold in-depth talks.
Before the meeting, Macron spoke of muted optimism. He would not expect miracles from his visit to Moscow. Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov made a similar statement in the morning. Today’s meeting is very important, but: “The situation is too complicated to expect decisive breakthroughs. Let’s wait for the results of today’s meeting and hear how the two presidents assess them at the press conference”. Peskow expects long, intensive talks.
France currently holds the presidency of the Council of the European Union. From the Élysée Palace it was said in advance that Macron’s visit to Russia would be about a uniform, coordinated announcement to Moscow with clearly defined consequences in the event of aggression. Macron had agreed by telephone with US President Joe Biden, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz, among others.
Macron wants to explore approaches to de-escalation
Macron is concerned with exploring approaches to de-escalation. Macron said before the talks that there should be no compromises on the “security and sovereignty” of Ukraine and Europe. However, it is legitimate for Russia to raise the question of its own security.
There are international fears that Russia is planning an invasion of neighboring Ukraine. The Kremlin denies such plans. It is also considered possible that the Russian side wants to stir up fears in order to persuade NATO to make concessions on demands for new security guarantees.
With information from Stephan Laack, ARD Studio Moscow