Macron says Russia didn’t promise ‘escalation’ in Ukraine, but Kremlin says there is no deal
French President Emmanuel Macron told reporters on Tuesday that he had succeeded in getting Russia’s Vladimir Putin to promise no more “escalation” in Ukraine, but the Kremlin was quick to cast doubt on any progress. After the two leaders sat down for five hours of talks on Monday, Macron said he had offered “concrete security guarantees” to Russia in its clash with Western leaders and NATO. In return, he said: “President Putin assured me of his willingness to engage in this direction and his desire to maintain the stability and territorial integrity of Ukraine”. France Media Agency reported. “I got [a pledge] that there will be no degradation or escalation,” Macron said. During a subsequent visit to Kiev on Tuesday, Macron, perhaps quite naively, told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that he was convinced he had succeeded in reaching Putin and that “there now exists the possibility of advancing the negotiations”. The worldand reported. His comments appeared to correspond to a report from the FinancialTimes who said Macron brokered a deal with Putin for Moscow to avoid any further “military initiative” and withdraw thousands of troops who have amassed near the Ukrainian border. The Kremlin, however, disputes FT‘s report, with spokesman Dmitry Peskov insisting that such a deal was “impossible”. “Moscow and Paris could not have reached any agreement,” Peskov told Russian news agency Interfax.