French President Emmanuel Macron, the first leader of a major Western power to meet Vladimir Putin since Russia massed troops near Ukraine, said on Tuesday he believed steps can be taken to de-escalate the crisis and called on all sides to stay calm.
Macron, who in contrast to the U.S. and British leaders, has played down the likelihood that Russia may soon invade its neighbor, shuttled from Moscow to Kyiv on Tuesday in a bid to mediate a settlement and avoid war.
The French president had no breakthroughs to announce but Macron said he thought his talks had helped prevent the crisis from escalating further. He said had never expected “for one second” that Putin would make concessions.
Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy had told him they were committed to the principles of a 2014 peace agreement, he said, adding that this deal, known as the Minsk accords, offered a path to resolving their ongoing disputes.
Sign Up for Lisa’s Top Ten to get a daily briefing on the world each morning.
Start your free trial today.