French president Emmanuel Macron ahead of his Monday meeting with Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin called for a ‘new balance’ and said that a deal to avoid war is possible, according to reports by news agencies.
Macron, however, clearly outlined that Ukraine’s sovereignty was not up for discussion. He, while speaking to French newspaper Journal du Dimanche, said that Russia sought a clarification of the rules and not Ukraine.
“We must protect our European brothers by proposing a new balance capable of preserving their sovereignty and peace. This must be done while respecting Russia and understanding the contemporary traumas of this great people and great nation,” Macron was quoted as saying by news agencies BBC and Journal du Dimanche.
He also warned allies – NATO and the US – to not expect any unilateral measures to de-escalate the situation from Moscow.
“It is essential to avoid a deterioration of the situation before building mechanisms and reciprocal gestures of trust. We have to be very realistic and we will not obtain unilateral gestures,” Macron further said.
The French president spoke to the US president Joe Biden on Sunday where both discussed the Ukraine issue ahead of Macron’s meeting with Putin. “They discussed ongoing diplomatic and deterrence efforts in response to Russia’s continued military build-up on Ukraine’s borders, and affirmed their support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” a statement from the White House said.
According to a report by AFP, the phone was part of a coordination effort ahead of the Macron-Putin meet. Macron is also scheduled to meet Ukrainian president Volodomyr Zelensky later on Tuesday.
Macron also spoke to the UK prime minister Boris Johnson and NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg over the weekend.
Meanwhile, US intelligence officials familiar with developments told news agency Reuters that Russia has amassed 70% of the military capability needed for a full-scale Ukraine invasion. They said that weather conditions will open a peak window for Russia to move equipment forward between February 15 and March. The US says that a full-scale invasion will lead to at least 50,000 deaths.
According to Rochan Consulting, Russia has amassed not only troops bordering Ukraine on its west and Crimea on its southwest but has freshly moved troops to locations in Belarus and Moldova.