Macron in talks with Putin to de-escalate Ukraine crisis
Moscow, Feb 7 (EFE).- French president Emmanuel Macron joined his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin for talks in Moscow aimed at de-escalating tensions around Ukraine amid fears of a Russian invasion.
The high-profile meeting comes amid a build-up of an estimated 100,000 Russian troops along Ukraine’s borders, raising fears of a new outbreak of conflict.
“I believe that today’s conversation can pave the way we must take, that of de-escalation,” Macron told reporters in Moscow ahead of his encounter with Putin at the Kremlin.
Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov earlier said the discussions were unlikely to achieve much progress.
Macron is scheduled to travel to Ukraine on Tuesday to meet with president Volodymyr Zelenkyy.
Earlier in the day, Nato secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg said the Alliance was considering a further boost to its presence in Eastern Europe.
The military alliance has already strengthened its numbers in the Baltic, Eastern Europe and Black Sea region, with the United States deploying some 8,000 troops.
“We are considering more longer-term adjustments to our posture, presence, in the eastern part of the alliance. No final decision has been made on that but there is a process now going on within Nato,” he told a joint press conference in Brussels alongside Poland’s president Andrej Duda.
Stoltenberg also criticized China for supporting Russia’s petition to halt Nato’s eastward expansion, saying it was an “attempt to deny sovereign nations the right to make their own choices.”EFE