French President Emmanuel Macron and US President Joe Biden have agreed to coordinate their response to Russia’s military buildup on the Ukrainian border, after Macron announced he may visit Russia to find a diplomatic solution to the standoff .
During a call between the two leaders on Wednesday, Macron and Biden reviewed “ongoing coordination on diplomacy and preparations to impose swift and severe economic costs on Russia should it further invade Ukraine,” according to a statement.
The allies agreed to remain in “close contact” in consultation with NATO and other members of the European Union on a “coordinated and comprehensive approach” to support “the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine” .
Russia has deployed more than 100,000 heavily armed troops around Ukraine, raising fears in the West that it is planning to invade the pro-EU former Soviet republic, which has ambitions to join Western institutions, including the NATO.
Russia denies plans to invade and says the troops are there because of threats from the United States and its allies.
Macron could visit Russia
Earlier on Wednesday, Macron said he would also maintain contact with Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky, and may visit Russia to seek a diplomatic solution.
“The most important thing is first of all to continue European coordination and to continue exchanges with President Putin and President Zelensky,” he told reporters on Wednesday.
“Depending on the progress of our discussions made in the hours to come, I do not exclude any initiative or trip.”
Macron said this week that Russia behaves like an “imbalance power” in the region, but he also indicated that he was open to dialogue with Moscow.
He has argued that Europe must keep channels open to talk with Russia and has had repeated talks with Putin over the phone in recent days.
Another call is expected Thursday evening.
France supports Romania
France, meanwhile, will refine its plans to send troops to Romania, which has a 600-kilometre border with Ukraine, as part of a future NATO mission.
Romania has raised security concerns that a conflict in Ukraine could spill over the border.
Addressing Romania’s parliament on Wednesday to mark 15 years of EU membership, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said Paris wanted to show solidarity and underline EU unity. .
“France is ready to commit to new NATO reinsurance measures for Romania,” Le Drian said. “We are proud to be at your side as the security situation deteriorates at your borders, which are also our borders.”
France, which leads NATO’s Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF) in 2022, has offered to be the lead country for a mission in Romania, similar to those in the Baltic countries, with a country coordinating land, sea and sea assets.
The mission could involve up to 1,000 soldiers from various countries. NATO has a multinational ground force of up to 4,000 soldiers in Romania.
Le Drian will meet in Bucharest on Thursday with nine ministers from Eastern Europe and the Baltic states, including Poland, the Czech Republic and Estonia, to discuss the crisis.
The United States, which has troops stationed at separate bases in Romania and Bulgaria, said Wednesday it would send nearly 3,000 additional troops to Poland and Romania to bolster NATO allies in Eastern Europe. ‘East.