French President Emmanuel Macron briefed his US counterpart Joe Biden on Sunday evening on his talks with Vladimir Putin of Russia and Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine, in a call that reportedly lasted only 15 minutes on Sunday evening.
The White House said only that the two presidents “discussed ongoing diplomacy and deterrence efforts in response to Russia’s military buildup on the borders of Ukraine,” and told the press pool about the call’s duration. The Elysee Palace has yet to comment on the call.
In a call with Putin earlier on Sunday, Macron offered to mediate talks in the so-called Normandy Format “in the next few hours” to secure a ceasefire along the line of contact in the disputed region of Donbass in eastern Ukraine.
The French president’s office also said the two presidents discussed “a meeting at the highest level to define a new order of peace and security in Europe,” and that such talks would involve “all the stakeholders,” presumably including the US.
Following his call with Putin, Macron spoke with Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelensky, who “confirmed his determination not to react to provocations and to respect the ceasefire,” according to the Elysee Palace.
Since then, however, the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Lugansk in eastern Ukraine have accused Kiev’s forces of launching heavy artillery attacks on their territory. Kiev has repeatedly denied harboring any plans to take the breakaway regions by force, accusing the rebels of violating the ceasefire themselves.
Biden claimed on Friday that US intelligence gave him reason to believe Putin had made the decision to invade Ukraine in the next several days. Moscow has repeatedly denied having any plans to attack Ukraine and called such accusations “fake news.”