The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, has reiterated this Saturday to his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, that he has “no offensive intention” in Ukraine, according to sources at the Elysee. Both heads of state have had a telephone conversation of one hour and forty minutes, an interview that occurs in a context of growing alarm about the possibility of an imminent Russian attack.
The new conversation between the two statesmen is part of the permanent contacts they maintain to avoid an escalation. On February 7, Macron and Putin spoke for almost six hours in the Kremlin. “President Putin has denied any offensive intention,” Elysée sources stressed. The Russian leader is willing to continue the dialogue on the Donbas issue, the Ukrainian separatist region, and on new European security architecture. But Putin insists that it is NATO that threatens Russia by its continued expansion to the east and not the other way around.
Macron warns Putin that “a sincere dialogue is not compatible with an escalation”
Macron takes his interlocutor at his word about the denial of the invasion plans, but the French president remains “extremely vigilant and attentive”, given the extraordinary Russian military deployment on the Ukrainian borders. The French president has warned Putin that “a sincere dialogue is not compatible with an escalation.”
Like other countries, France has advised its nationals not to travel to Ukraine. Regarding the thousand French citizens -many of them with dual nationality- residing in Ukraine, it has not yet been decided to ask them to leave the country, as the United States, Great Britain, and others have done. The French decision will be made by the ambassador himself after meeting and consulting with the French community residing in the country.