The Government of the United States said French President Emmanuel Macron's diplomatic attempts to cool off the Ukraine crisis had shown some encouraging signs.
We encourage and we’re encouraged by any efforts at diplomacy, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters Tuesday. But we can’t control what Russia will do next, she added.
She also admitted US President Joseph Biden was to talk with Macron soon to discuss the outcome of the French leader's visit to Moscow and Kiev.
Macron met with Russian President Vladimir Putin for over five hours in Moscow Monday. After that encounter, the French lead of state said Putin had told him Russia had no intentions of escalating the military crisis, let alone invade Ukraine. But Macron and Putin made no deal. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that “in the current situation, Moscow and Paris can’t be reaching any deals.”
The French President also met with his Ukrainian collegue Volodymyr Zelenskyy Tuesday and said it would take time to find a diplomatic solution to the rising tensions, which represent the biggest security crisis between Russia and the West since the Cold War.
But Zelenskyy insisted he would like a concrete sign from Putin, because he didn’t usually trust words. Zelenskyy called his talks with Macron “very fruitful.”
“We have a common view with President Macron on threats and challenges to the security of Ukraine, of the whole of Europe, of the world in general,” Zelenskyy said.
“In the history of diplomacy, there was never a crisis that has been settled by exchanges of letters which are to be made public afterwards,” he said, adding that’s why he decided to go to Moscow for direct talks. Macron later flew to Berlin, where he was told by Polish President Andrzej Duda and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz there was consensus “to prevent a war in Europe.”
Biden met Monday with Scholz, who will also travel to Kiev and Moscow on February 14-15.
In an article in the Times of London, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged allies to finalize heavy economic sanctions if Russia crosses into Ukraine and said the UK was ready to bolster NATO forces in Latvia and Estonia. Johnson said he was considering dispatching RAF Typhoon fighters and Royal Navy warships to southeastern Europe.
Russia and Ukraine have been locked in a bitter conflict since 2014, when Ukraine’s Kremlin-friendly president was ousted, Moscow annexed Crimea and then backed a separatist insurgency in the east of the country. The fighting between Russia-backed rebels and Ukrainian forces has resulted in over 14,000 deaths.
In 2015, France and Germany helped broker a peace deal, known as the Minsk agreements, that ended large-scale hostilities but failed to bring a political settlement of the conflict. Macron said both Putin and Zelenskyy confirmed they were willing to implement the Minsk agreements — “the only path allowing to build peace Ö and find a sustainable political solution.”