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Macron Had Multiple Calls Sunday—Putin, Zelenskyy, Biden

Feb. 20, 2022 (EIRNS)—FLASH: The Elysée has announced early Feb. 21 in Paris, that President Joe Biden and President Vladimir Putin have agreed, in principle, to a summit.

French President Emmanuel Macron’s first phone call today with President Putin lasted for an hour and 45 minutes. He next spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, and later in the day, Macron spoke with President Biden for 15 minutes. Then again, Macron and Putin spoke.

The Elysée reported this morning that Macron intended also to speak with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz “in the coming hours”—and also intended to have discussions with the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi. Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov also planned speak by phone to French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, according to the Russian Foreign Ministry.

The Elysée had earlier described Macron’s call to Moscow today as among “the last possible and necessary efforts to avoid a major conflict in Ukraine.” The two leaders had met in Moscow on Feb. 7. In their call today they both agreed that there should be a meeting among the OSCE, Ukraine, and Russia on Monday, Feb. 21. They also agreed that their foreign ministers should meet “in the coming days.”

According to the Kremlin, Putin blamed what he called Ukrainian “provocations” over the escalation in fighting with pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine. He also demanded that NATO and the United States “take seriously” Moscow’s demands regarding security—the issue at the heart of the current crisis.

In a statement, the Kremlin said that “modern weapons and ammunition being sent to Ukraine by NATO member countries” were encouraging Kyiv to pursue a military solution in the Donbas region, which in turn was forcing civilians to leave.

Russia wants guarantees that NATO will halt what it calls the alliance’s eastward expansion, rule out membership for Ukraine and other former Soviet countries, and roll back its military deployments in Central and Eastern Europe.

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