Russia has to choose between confrontation or consultation, and it is up to President Putin to choose. French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said that after President Macron Putin spoke by phone about tensions over Ukraine.
Putin will call his Ukrainian counterpart Zelensky later in the day.
Macron previously expressed hope that the call with Putin will lead to “firm dialogue and clarifications”. He wants to chart a path to de-escalation as more than 100,000 Russian soldiers have gathered at the Ukrainian border. However, diplomatic consultations have not yielded much so far.
The Kremlin reported that Putin reiterated to Macron that the West had ignored security concerns in Moscow. He noted that the United States and NATO had rejected Russia’s demand that Ukraine cannot become a member of NATO. So is Putin’s demand that NATO troops leave Eastern Europe.
A formal response from Russia will follow. “The ball is now in the Russian court,” said Le Drian. According to him, there is “of course” still the risk that Russia invades Ukraine. He repeated that this would have severe consequences for Moscow.