Macron discusses with Putin and Zelensky and Europe tries to solve the Ukraine crisis

The French president, Emmanuel Macron, discussed this Thursday separately with his Russian and Ukrainian peers, Vladimir Putin and Volodomir Zelenski, about the international tensions around Ukraine, which various European efforts are trying to appease.

The Kremlin said that Putin and Macron maintained a "substantial dialogue" about the situation in Ukraine and about Moscow’s desire to obtain guarantees for Russia’s security from Western countries, in what was his third phone call in a week.

According to the Russian presidency, Putin again denounced "the provocative statements and actions of the Ukrainian authorities".

Zelensky later also spoke with Emmanuel Macron about ways to "address security challenges" Y "advance the peace process"as the Ukrainian president tweeted.

"We agree on further joint measures to maintain stability in Ukraine"he added.

Faced with the tens of thousands of Russian soldiers concentrated on the border with Ukraine, raising fears of an invasion, the United States decided to send 3,000 additional soldiers to Eastern Europe.

The countries of the European Union (EU), which have already warned of severe economic sanctions against Russia in the event of an attack, intensify contacts for a de-escalation, with almost daily visits to Kiev by Western leaders and senior diplomats, and in telephone conversations with Putin. .

French President Emmanuel Macron and German Prime Minister Olaf Scholz are considering visiting Moscow.

France and Germany are also trying to revive the peace process in eastern Ukraine, where Kiev has been fighting pro-Russian separatists for eight years.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visited Kiev on his side on Thursday, and offered to host a summit between Russia and Ukraine in his country.

"Turkey is ready to do its part to resolve the crisis between two friendly countries, which are its neighbors in the Black Sea"declared Erdogan after being received by Zelenski, who said "willing to do as much as possible" to establish peace in Ukraine.

The Turkish leader takes advantage of his membership in NATO and his good relations with Kiev to propose his mediation.

Before leaving for Kiev, he had reiterated the same offer to Vladimir Putin, suggesting that the Russian president make a stopover in Turkey when he returns from the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Beijing on Friday.

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Ukraine is one of the sensitive issues between Russia and Turkey, which supports Ukraine’s NATO membership and strongly opposed Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, in the name of protecting its Turkic-speaking Tatar minority.

Putin accuses his Turkish counterpart of supplying Kiev with armed drones used against pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine. The Turkish and Ukrainian leaders signed an agreement on Thursday to increase the production of such devices in Ukraine.

The West accuses Russia of massing tens of thousands of troops on Ukraine’s borders from the end of 2021 to prepare for a possible invasion. Russia denies any such move and says it only wants to ensure their safety.

Moscow believes that de-escalation will only be possible if the end of NATO’s enlargement policy is guaranteed, especially towards Ukraine, and the withdrawal of its military capabilities in Eastern Europe.

– Risk "under" –

Washington announced a reinforcement of NATO’s eastern flank with the redeployment of 1,000 soldiers from Germany to Romania and the sending of another 2,000 mainly to Poland.

These troops join the 8,500 troops on alert since the end of January to be deployed if necessary as a NATO rapid reaction force.

"These forces are not going to fight in Ukraine"which is not part of NATO, US Defense Department spokesman John Kirby said, assuring that it is a temporary deployment.

The Russian government criticized the move and urged the United States on Thursday to stop stoking the crisis.

"We ask our American partners to stop fueling tensions"said Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov, considering that Washington’s decision only "gets worse" the situation and that "Russia’s concern (…) is perfectly justified".

The Ukrainian Minister of Defense, Olkesii Reznikov, considered that the risk of a "significant escalation" is "under".

Instead, Kiev fears maneuvers of "internal destabilization" fomented by Russia, suspected of supporting eastern separatists.

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