French President Macron to meet Putin in Moscow, travel to Ukraine

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French President Emmanuel Macron will meet Russian leader Vladimir Putin in Moscow on February 7 and the leader of Ukraine on February 8 to discuss the Ukraine situation, as Western world leaders try and avoid a major conflict with Russia over Ukraine.

Macron’s office added he would meet Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv a day after his meeting with Putin.

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Macron has said that finding a negotiated path towards de-escalating tensions over Ukraine was a priority, even as the United States has said it was sending 3,000 extra troops to Poland and Romania as Russia amassed troops near Ukraine.

Macron held separate phone calls with the Russian and Ukrainian leaders on Thursday to try to make progress on the status of the Donbass region as part of efforts to defuse tensions, said Macron’s office in a statement on Thursday.

That statement had also said Macron had underscored to Russia’s Vladimir Putin and Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelensky the importance of discussing the conditions to reach strategic balance in Europe which would enable a reduction in tension on the ground and guarantee security on the continent.

The United States had also said on Thursday that Russia has formulated several options as an excuse to invade Ukraine, including the potential use of a propaganda video showing a staged attack, as the Kremlin condemned American troop deployments in the region.

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