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Macron-Putin talks begin with offer

Crucial personal talks between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron have begun in Moscow on Monday evening, with the latter suggesting they work out a solution that “helps to avoid war” in Europe.

The high-profile Kremlin negotiations have centered on the ongoing standoff between Moscow and the West over Ukraine.

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In his opening speech, Macron said he was seeking to find a solution mutually beneficial for all of Europe, stressing that at stake was not just the security of Ukraine itself, but that of the continent as a whole.

“I believe that today’s conversation, for me, can start the path that we should take, the path of de-escalation,” Macron stated. Therefore, I am glad that I will be able to discuss these issues in depth and we will be able to find a mutually beneficial answer for Russia and for the whole of Europe. A useful answer is the answer that helps to avoid war.”

Russia’s president, for his part, thanked Macron for France’s continuous efforts in solving the “first piece” of a complex situation, the years-long “internal conflict” in Ukraine’s east, where government forces are facing those of the breakaway republics of Donetsk and Luhansk, which emerged following the 2014 coup in Kiev.

“I see how much effort the incumbent government of France and the president personally are making to resolve the crisis related to ensuring an equitable security in Europe,” Putin stated.

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