French President Emmanuel Macron will meet with Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Monday in an effort to prevent a dreaded Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The French leader said he was aiming for “dialogue with Russia and de-escalation” of the talks, which are scheduled to start at 14:00 GMT.
Macron’s attempt is the highest-profile intervention yet by a Western leader to defuse tensions; he will visit Kiev for talks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Tuesday.
The concentration of an estimated 100,000 Russian soldiers and military equipment near the border with Ukraine has fueled Western fears that Moscow may be planning an attack. Russia denies it is preparing for an invasion and has accused the United States-led NATO military alliance of undermining the region’s security.
It wants NATO to withhold Ukraine and other former Soviet countries from membership and roll back forces from Eastern Europe. Washington and NATO have rejected Russia’s claims as non-beginners.
Here are the latest updates:
Ukraine to discuss ‘unfair’ German military hardware stance with FM
Ukraine’s foreign minister says he will raise the issue of Berlin’s refusal to supply Kyiv with military hardware along with his German counterpart Annalena Baerbock when the two later hold talks in the Ukrainian capital.
“Germany has repeatedly and publicly explained this decision. We consider these explanations about Ukraine to be unfair. We believe that there is more room for Germany to act, ”Dmytro Kuleba said at a briefing. “We have to respect the position of the state, but that does not mean we should not work with it.”
Germany’s Scholz to meet French, Polish presidents
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz will meet Macron and Polish President Andrzej Duda in Berlin on Tuesday, a German government spokesman said.
A Norman format discussion – involving France, Germany, Ukraine and Russia – at advisory level could also take place this week, the spokesperson added.
Scholz will later meet with US President Joe Biden in the White House.
Borderlands: Fear, insecurity and life on Ukraine’s front line
Amid fears of a Russian invasion, war-weary residents of eastern Ukraine are questioning those who have endured more than seven years of a protracted conflict that holds the future for the region – and for their lives.
Read more here.
US military transport planes bring troops to Poland
Two U.S. military transport planes have landed at a Polish airport, with more expected to arrive later, bringing most of the extra troops President Joe Biden ordered last week to Europe.
After the planes were spotted at Rzeszow-Jasionka airport in southeastern Poland, an airport employee told Reuters three more were expected. A Polish military spokesman also said more planes were expected to arrive on Monday, but did not say how many.
Biden ordered nearly 3,000 troops to move to Eastern Europe to protect NATO’s eastern flank from the possibility of a Russian attack on Ukraine.
France’s role in the crisis and the 2015 Minsk agreement
- Macron said it was essential to “prevent a deterioration of the situation” and that it was legal for Russia to raise security issues.
- “Russia’s geopolitical goal today is clearly not Ukraine, but to clarify the rules of coexistence with NATO and the EU,” Macron told the French newspaper Journal du Dimanche in an interview published Sunday.
- France has played a central role in the past in the effort to mediate between Kiev and Moscow. Together with Germany, it helped bring about a 2015 peace deal for eastern Ukraine in an effort to end hostilities between Ukrainian forces and Russian-backed separatists that erupted the previous year following Moscow’s annexation of the Crimean peninsula. .
- The agreement signed in the Belarussian capital, Minsk, helped stop large-scale fighting, but attempts at a political settlement came to a halt and frequent skirmishes continued along the strained line of contact in Ukraine’s eastern industrial heartland. , the Donbas.
- Putin and his officials have urged France, Germany and other Western allies to urge Ukraine to fulfill its obligations under the 2015 agreement, which envisages broad autonomy for the rebel-held east and a comprehensive amnesty for the separatists. stated. The agreement stipulated that only after those conditions were met would Ukraine be able to regain control of its border with Russia in rebel regions.
- But many in Ukraine see the Minsk agreement as a betrayal of national interests and authorities have strongly warned the West against pressure on Kiev to implement the agreement amid current tensions.
The Kremlin does not expect a decisive breakthrough from Putin-Macron meeting
The Kremlin said it did not expect a decisive breakthrough during the talks between Putin and Macron, but expected the French leader to suggest ways to ease tensions in Europe.
“The situation is too complex to expect decisive breakthroughs in the course of one meeting,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told a news conference.
But he said Russia was aware of certain ideas to reduce tensions that Macron had previously talked about and planned to share with Putin.
Peskov added that in recent days Moscow has not heard anything new about the security guarantees he is requesting. “Our Western interlocutors prefer not to mention this topic,” he said.
UK FM to visit Russia: Report
Moscow and London discuss a possible visit by the UK’s foreign minister to Moscow on Thursday, the RIA Novosti news agency quoted Russia’s foreign ministry.
Russia links US nuclear talks with security demands: Report
The fate of nuclear control talks between Russia and the US will depend to a large extent on the progress of negotiations on Moscow’s security demands, a senior Russian diplomat was quoted as saying.
Vladimir Yermakov, head of nuclear non-proliferation and control at Russia’s foreign ministry, told RIA Novosti news agency that talks on the Kremlin’s proposals took precedence over strategic arms control talks.
No meetings have been agreed on the latter, and their resumption now depends largely on resolving the immediate security issues raised by Moscow, he said.
Top Biden assistant says Ukraine invasion could come ‘any day’
Jake Sullivan, US national security adviser, said Russia could invade Ukraine “any day”.
“It could happen as soon as tomorrow or it could take a few more weeks,” he warned Sunday.
“If war breaks out, it will entail a huge human cost for Ukraine, but we believe that based on our preparations and our response, it will also have a strategic cost for Russia,” Sullivan added.
Ukraine apparently does not say ‘apocalyptic predictions’ about Russia
Ukraine has rejected “apocalyptic predictions” of a possible looming full-scale invasion by Russia after US officials said Moscow had assembled 70 percent of the military forces needed for such a move.
“Do not believe the apocalyptic predictions. “Different capitals have different scenarios, but Ukraine is ready for any development,” Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba tweeted on Sunday.
Read more here.
Australian Prime Minister reiterates call for citizens to leave Ukraine
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he was “highly concerned” about the crisis and reiterated his government’s call for Australians to leave Ukraine.
Morrison told reporters in Canberra that consular officials had been working for weeks to convey the message to those staying in Ukraine that “it’s time to leave if you want to leave”.
He also called on Russia to continue talks on resolving the situation.