Biden-Putin summit agreed ‘in principle’, Macron’s office says – live

Vladimir Putin and Emmanuel Macron have agreed to try to achieve a ceasefire in Donbass, eastern Ukraine, and urgently organize a summit at the highest level on the future of Ukraine, said the Elysée in a press release.

The two leaders spoke on the phone for 105 minutes, and the result, largely confirmed by the Kremlin, suggests that Russia may be willing to back off the brink of a full invasion of Ukraine to allow further diplomatic talks.

French Foreign Minister Jean Yves Le Drian will meet his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, in the coming days to work on a possible summit at the highest level with Russia, Ukraine and their allies.

The Kremlin suggested that the meeting would be held in the Norman format, which means that the participants would be Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany.

It is too early to tell if Macron pulled off a last-minute diplomatic coup, or if he has the full backing of his initiative from Washington and London. So far, most of his moves have been coordinated with the White House.

It was also decided that a meeting of the trilateral contact group would be held “in the next few hours” in order to “achieve a commitment from all stakeholders” to a ceasefire on the line of contact.

The aim of the leaders’ summit, if the conditions are met, would be to define a new order of peace and security in Europe,” the French presidency said.

The Kremlin said Putin had expressed serious concern over the sharp deterioration of the situation on the contact line in Donbass.

The statement added:

Given the acuteness of the current situation, the Presidents deemed it appropriate to intensify the search for solutions through diplomatic channels through the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and the political advisers of the leaders of the countries participating in the Normandy format. These contacts are designed to help restore the ceasefire and ensure progress in resolving the conflict around Donbass.

The Kremlin insisted Putin was not withdrawing any of his broader demands, saying Putin “reiterated the need for the United States and NATO to take Russian demands for security guarantees seriously and to respond to them.” answer concretely and precisely”.

The statement adds that the escalation in the Donbass was blamed by Putin on provocations by Ukrainian security forces, and he complained about NATO countries supplying Ukraine with modern arms and ammunition. , “which pushes Kiev towards a military solution for the so-called Donbass problem”.

Christi C. Elwood