French President Emmanuel Macron and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin agreed on the need for “de-escalation” in the Ukraine crisis during a call on Friday, with the Russian leader saying he had “no offensive plan”, a said a Macron aide.
The two leaders spoke for more than an hour on Friday morning during a call described by the French side as “serious and respectful” which highlighted “fundamental differences” but also a “common desire” to continue to to talk to.
The conversation “allowed us to agree on the need for de-escalation,” the aide said during a briefing with reporters.
France hosted more than eight hours of talks between Russian and Ukrainian delegations in Paris on Wednesday, which were seen as a test of whether Putin wanted to ease tensions, after massing around 100,000 troops on the Ukrainian border.
“President Putin has not expressed any offensive plans and has said that he wants to continue talks with France and our allies,” the French official said on Friday, adding that the Russian leader “has made it very clear that he will not didn’t want a confrontation”.
Macron said earlier this week that Russia was behaving like an “imbalance power” in the region, but also made it clear that he wanted to speak with Putin, whom he had invited to France for talks during his summer vacation. summer in 2019.
His relatively conciliatory tone contrasted with the more strident rhetoric about the likelihood of a Russian invasion by NATO allies of France, the United Kingdom and the United States.
“Now the ball is in Putin’s court,” Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told RTL radio on Friday ahead of the phone call between the leaders.
“Does he want to be the one to say that Russia is a power of imbalance, or is he ready to show de-escalation? He asked.
“It’s up to Vladimir Putin to say whether he wants confrontation or consultation. We are ready for consultation. But it still takes two to do it,” he said.
Le Drian said there was “of course” always the risk of a Russian invasion of Ukraine, warning that such a move would have “massive repercussions” for Moscow.
Later Friday, Macron also spoke with his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky.
The president reaffirmed “France’s complete solidarity with Ukraine” and underlined the “nation’s determination to preserve the territorial integrity and sovereignty of this country, in a context of high volatility”, indicated the Elysium.
“The two presidents agreed to continue efforts for de-escalation and dialogue,” he added.