Playing into Putins hands Macron Russia claim heartbreaking for worried EU officials

Ukraine: ‘Easier’ to face Russia ‘with support’ says Kuleba

We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info

The French President said that “Russia’s geopolitical aim today is obviously not Ukraine but the clarification of the rules of how Moscow lives with Nato and the EU”, as he travelled to the Russian capital to meet Vladimir Putin.

But officials in the EU have warned Mr Macron is “playing into Putin’s hands” with his comments.

Speaking to The Telegraph’s Brussels correspondent, Joe Barnes, one source said Mr Macron’s comments are “heartbreaking”.

Mr Barnes tweeted: “One source described the French President’s comments as ‘heartbreaking’.

“Another said they were exactly what Putin wants, as they drive a wedge between the US and NATO allies.”

In Moscow, the Kremlin said Russia does not expect any decisive breakthrough from today’s talks between Russian President Vladimir Putin and the French leader.

The Ukraine crisis is set to dominate the talks, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told a briefing.

Moscow denies planning an invasion of Ukraine but is seeking security guarantees including a pledge that Ukraine must never allowed to join NATO. The West has rejected that, but said it is willing to discuss other issues such as arms control.

Mr Macron is expected to seek commitments from Putin to dial down the tensions.

READ MORE: Russia stockpiling ‘hypersonic’ cruise missile able to strike US sites

“The situation is too complex to expect decisive breakthroughs in the course of one meeting,” Peskov said.

But he said Russia was aware of certain ideas for lowering tensions that Macron had spoken about before and planned to share with Putin.

Peskov said it was not possible to speak of a lull in tensions while Western governments continued to talk about a looming Russian attack on Ukraine.

He said Moscow had heard nothing new in recent days on the security guarantees it is requesting, and “our Western interlocutors prefer not to mention this topic”.

Blackford attempts to dodge question on lies [VIDEO]
Brexit: UK fishermen caught in EU ‘bureaucratic nonsense’ [INSIGHT]
Boris Johnson faces Conservative revolt over Steve Barclay appointment [ANALYSIS]

President Macron has made a frenetic series of phone calls with Western allies, Putin and the Ukrainian leader over the past week. He will follow up on Tuesday with a visit to Kyiv, staking a lot of political capital on a mission that could prove embarrassing if he returns empty-handed.

One source close to the French leader told Reuters: “We’re heading to Putin’s lair, in many ways it’s a throw of the dice.”

Two sources close to Macron said one aim of his visit was to buy time and freeze the situation for several months, at least until a “Super April” of elections in Europe – in Hungary, Slovenia and, crucially for Macron, in France.

The French leader, who has earned a reputation for highly publicised diplomatic forays since he took power in 2017, has both tried to cajole and confront Putin over the past five years.

His efforts have brought close dialogue with the Russian leader as well as painful setbacks.

Soon after his election, Mr Macron rolled out the red carpet for Putin at the Palace of Versailles, but also used the visit to publicly decry Russian meddling during the election.

Two years later, the pair met at the French president’s summer residence.

But according to Politico, the Russian leader could today seek to “humiliate” Mr Macron.

Source: Read Full Article