Tens of thousands of Russian soldiers are still camped on the Ukrainian borders, raising fears of a new invasion, while Russia claims, again and again, that theNATO leaves its neighborhood as a guarantee of its safety and thus to allow appeasement.
Mr Macron will be the first high-profile Western leader to meet the Kremlin ruler since tensions rose in December. The next day, he will go to see Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
At the same time, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz will be in Washington on Monday with US President Joe Biden, while his Foreign Minister, Annalena Baerbock, will be in Ukraine.
No breakthrough expected
The Kremlin ruled
very important the visit of the French President.
The situation is too complex to expect decisive breakthroughs after a single meetingsaid Dmitry Peskov, the spokesman for the Russian president, while noting that
Macron told Putin he comes with ideas in search of detente.
The French head of state, whose country holds the rotating presidency of the European Union, is expected in Moscow around 1 p.m. (GMT) for several hours of talks, followed by a press conference with Mr. Putin.
The intensity of the dialogue we have had with Russia and this visit to Moscow are likely to prevent an armed conflict, estimated in the columns of the French weekly JDD Emmanuel Macron, who wants to discuss
terms of de-escalation.
He acknowledged that Westerners
Moscow insists that its security will only be guaranteed in the event of a military withdrawal fromNATO of Eastern Europe and the end of the policy of enlargement of the Atlantic Alliance.
So many demands rejected by the West, who in return offer discussions on Russian concerns, gestures of confidence such as reciprocal visits to military sites, or even disarmament measures.
secondarythink the Russians.
Relaunch the political settlement process
Russia had already invaded part of Ukraine in 2014, annexing the Crimean peninsula after a pro-Western revolution in Kiev. The Western sanctions that followed had no effect on the Kremlin line.
Since 2014, pro-Russian separatists, backed by Russia, have also been at war with the Ukrainian army in the east of the country. Peace agreements, negotiated under Franco-German mediation, made it possible to freeze the front, but the political settlement of the conflict is at a standstill. Mr. Macron wants to relaunch this process, while the last summit bringing together the leaders of France, Germany, Ukraine and Russia dates back to the end of 2019.
In order to coordinate the Western position, the French president spoke with Joe Biden, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the head of theNATO Jens Stoltenberg and the leaders of the three Baltic countries.
For his part, the German Olaf Scholz, accused of being lukewarm in his support for Ukraine, will meet the tenant of the White House on Monday in Washington.
He recalled, in an interview with washington postthat Moscow would have
a significant price to pay if it intervened in Ukrainea reference to threats of Western sanctions.
For its part, the United States continues to send military reinforcements to Europe.
US intelligence has also estimated that Russia already has 70% of the capability needed for a full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
Especially since Moscow is also deploying an undetermined number of men, armored vehicles and planes to Belarus, Russia’s ally and neighbor of Ukraine, for major military exercises.
Placing himself once again at odds with the urgency expressed by Washington, the head of Ukrainian diplomacy Dmytro Kouleba called for not listening to “apocalyptic” predictions, while congratulating himself on having a
mighty army and
unprecedented international support.