Macron Meets With Putin in Moscow, Seeks to ‘Avoid War’

By Jack Phillips
Jack Phillips
Jack Phillips
Breaking News Reporter
Jack Phillips is a breaking news reporter at The Epoch Times based in New York.
February 7, 2022 Updated: February 7, 2022

In a bid to de-escalate the possibility of a conflict in Ukraine, French President Emmanuel Macron met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Feb. 7.

During the meeting, Macron told Putin that he’s seeking a “useful” response “that, of course, allows us to avoid war and to build bricks of trust, stability, [and] visibility.”

Putin said Russia and France share “a common concern about what is happening in the security sphere in Europe.”

“I see how much efforts the current leadership of France and the president personally is applying in order to solve the crisis related to providing equal security in Europe for a serious historical perspective,” he said.

The talks come as Russia has amassed thousands of troops near its border with Ukraine and is also reportedly carrying out military drills in Belarus in what Russian officials say is a routine exercise.

Over the past weekend, White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan told several TV programs on the morning of Feb. 6 that he believes that Russia will invade Ukraine in the coming days.

“If war breaks out, it will come at an enormous human cost to Ukraine, but we believe that based on our preparations and our response, it will come at a strategic cost to Russia as well,” Sullivan said.

Russia has denied that it wants to invade Ukraine.

Also on Feb. 7, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, ahead of his first meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden, told The Washington Post that should Russia invade its neighbor, the Kremlin will pay a hefty price.

“We are ready to take together with our allies all necessary steps,” Scholz said in response to speculation that Germany could cancel the Russia-to-Germany Nord Stream 2 pipeline. “It is absolutely clear that in a situation like this all options are on the table. Please understand that I will not get into any specifics, but our answer will be united and decisive.”

Tanks of the Ukrainian Armed Forces
A service member walks past tanks of a mechanized brigade of the Ukrainian Armed Forces during military exercises outside Kharkiv, Ukraine, on Jan. 31, 2022. (Vyacheslav Madiyevskyy/Reuters)

Before their meeting in Moscow, which was captured on video and in photos, Macron told Le Journal du Dimanche that it’s “indispensable” to de-escalate “the situation before we build mechanisms and gestures of reciprocal trust.” The French president confirmed that he’ll speak to Putin about the terms for de-escalation.

But Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters that it’s not likely that there will be a breakthrough in just one meeting.

“In recent days, there has been nothing new on the topic of security guarantees for Russia. Our Western interlocutors prefer not to mention this topic,” Peskov said, according to Reuters.

Previously, both the United States and NATO have ruled out defending Ukraine with military force, saying that they would instead respond to a potential Russian invasion with sanctions, arms shipments, and other deterrent measures. Last week, Biden ordered the deployment of about 3,000 troops in Poland and Romania as part of a NATO agreement.

In 2014, Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula and began funding separatist rebel groups in the Donbas region. Moscow has demanded that Ukraine not join NATO, an idea the United States and its Western allies have rejected.

Jack Phillips
Breaking News Reporter
Jack Phillips is a breaking news reporter at The Epoch Times based in New York.