French President Emmanuel Macron has argued that Russia is not interested in invading Ukraine, expressing optimism that – so long as the West is prepared to make concessions – he can secure a “de-escalation” of tensions surrounding the Eastern European nation. He is set to meet with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on Monday, in Moscow.
“The geopolitical objective of Russia today is clearly not Ukraine, but to clarify the rules of cohabitation with NATO and the EU,” Macron explained in a weekend interview with the weekly Journal du Dimanche before his departure for Moscow. Russia has repeatedly called for NATO to cease expanding eastward into former Soviet territories, citing an agreement made at the time of the USSR’s collapse that has since been repeatedly violated.
Taking aim at the US refusal to end NATO’s controversial “open door policy,” Macron warned, “We have to be very realistic. We will not obtain unilateral moves, but it is essential to avoid a deterioration of the situation before building mechanisms and reciprocal gestures of trust.”
Macron also spoke with America’s President Joe Biden on Sunday, discussing “ongoing diplomatic and deterrence efforts” regarding Russia and Ukraine. He will visit Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Tuesday.
Biden last week ordered the deployment of 3,000 US troops to Poland, Germany and Romania, preparing for an invasion that Moscow flatly denies is coming. While Ukraine has walked back some of its warnings regarding the supposed imminence of a Russian invasion, the US has only doubled down, threatening to remove Russia from the SWIFT financial system or impose personal sanctions on Putin.
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