As the world waits nervously for the first sign of trouble in Ukraine, French President Emmanuel Macron has returned from Moscow with a scowl on his face.
Macron had hoped that his presence in Moscow could somehow serve to deescalate the situation, in which it appears undeniable that Russia will invade their tiny, resource-rich neighbor. The French leader may have overvalued his influence.
French President Emmanuel Macron and Russian President Vladimir Putin met in Moscow on Monday, but after five hours of negotiations, there was no breakthrough on the Russia-Ukraine crisis.Advertisement - story continues below
“Right now the tension is increasing and the risk of destabilization is increasing,” Macron said. “Neither Russia, nor the Europeans, want chaos or instability, when nations have already suffered from the [COVID-19] epidemic. So we need to agree on concrete measures.” Macron added that he doesn’t “believe in spontaneous miracles. There is lots of tensions, nervousness.”
Macron’s diplomatic deeds weren’t done yet, however.
While he didn’t go into detail about what was privately talked about, Putin did say it is possible for Russia to consider “a number” of Macron’s “proposals and ideas … in order to lay a foundation for our further steps.” Macron will head to Kyiv on Tuesday to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, and he said he’ll call Putin afterwards to brief him on their discussion.
Putin has remained undeterred for much of the crisis, consistently deflecting criticisms of his imminent invasion by suggesting that the international community simply doesn’t understand the situation.
Any aggression toward Ukraine will trigger a mighty global response, and Moscow knows it. The ball is truly in their court.