France’s Macron Flies to Moscow in Attempt to Ease Ukraine Tensions

French President Emmanuel Macron has landed in Moscow today in order to persuade Russian President Vladimir Putin to de-escalate ongoing tensions with Ukraine. 

The Kremlin gave Macron’s visit a guarded welcome, and said that it would listen to his ideas, but also played down expectations of there being a diplomatic breakthrough.

Western countries fear that Russia is planning to invade Ukraine. With 100,000 troops at the border with Ukraine, a military invasion is feared soon. Russia has denied that there will be an invasion, but it has also blatantly stated that unspecified military measures are possible if demands are not met. 

Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin spokesman, said that Russia was aware France wants to ease tensions but added that the situation is too complex to expect there to be decisive breakthroughs in one meeting. 

Peskov added that there has been nothing new on the topic of Russia’s security demands and guarantees over NATO, and Western powers have not mentioned the issue in days. 

As Macron landed in Moscow, he expressed some optimism, saying that he was reasonably optimistic, but does not believe in “spontaneous miracles.” 

The meeting is set to take place this afternoon, followed by a working dinner and then a joint news conference in the evening. 

In the run-up to the meeting, Macron told the Journal du Dimanche that realistic expectations needed to be set. He said that he did not expect to obtain unilateral gestures, but preventing the deterioration of the ongoing crisis before building trust and mechanisms was essential. 

Sources say that Macron aims to buy time in the escalating crisis and freeze the situation for a few months.

Macron has earned a reputation for highly publicized diplomatic forays, including when he rolled out the red carpet for Putin at the Palace of Versailles in 2017, and used the visit to publicly decry Russian meddling during the French election. In 2019, Putin and Macron met at Macron’s summer residence. 

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