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France champions Ukraine diplomacy – President Macron dials Putin for a second time in 24 hours

Russia President Vladimir Putin and French President Emmanuel Macron in Moscow, earlier this month (Image courtesy: Twitter/@KremlinRussia_E)

Amid continuing uncertainty over the Ukraine conflict, French President Emmanuel Macron dialled Russian President Vladimir Putin once again Monday morning, his second call to the Kremlin in last 24 hours.

Putin's office said that, in continuation of the discussions during Macron's recent visit to Moscow and regular telephone contacts, a thorough exchange of views was held between the two leaders on the situation around Ukraine, as well as on the development of long-term legal guarantees for the security of the Russian Federation.

Russia said that "serious concern" was expressed over the sharp deterioration of the situation on the line of contact in the Donbass.

"The President of Russia noted that the reason for the escalation is the provocations of the Ukrainian security forces. Attention is drawn to the ongoing pumping by the NATO countries of Ukraine of modern weapons and ammunition, which is pushing Kiev towards a military solution to the so-called Donbass problem," said the Kremlin in a statement today.  

Moscow alleged that, during the call, it was again emphasised that Kiev is only imitating the negotiation process, stubbornly refusing to implement the Minsk agreements and agreements reached in the Normandy format.

"Taking into account the acuteness of the current state of affairs, the presidents considered it expedient to intensify the search for solutions through diplomatic means through the foreign ministries and political advisers to the leaders of the countries participating in the Normandy format," the statement mentioned.

Putin reiterated to Micron the need for the United States and NATO to take Russian demands for security guarantees "seriously" and respond to them concretely and "to the point".

On Sunday, Macron spoke with US President Joe Biden as well as Putin, proposing a summit to be held between both the countries and then with relevant stakeholders to discuss security and strategic stability in Europe.

The French President's office stated that both Presidents have accepted the principle of such a summit.

According to Paris, the substance will have to be prepared by the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov during their meeting on February 24.

"It can only be held at the condition that Russia does not invade Ukraine. The President of the Republic will work with all stakeholders to prepare the content of these discussions," the statement from Elysee Palace said.

Also Read: How should India respond to the crisis in Ukraine?