French President Emmanuel Macron to visit Moscow, Kyiv

French President Emmanuel Macron will visit Moscow and later Kyiv – Photo: Reuters

French President Emmanuel Macron arrives in Moscow today to meet with Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.

Representatives of France, Russia and Ukraine have spoken extensively over phone the last ten days, culminating on Friday with Macron’s office confirming his February 7 and 8 visits to Moscow and Ukraine’s capital Kyiv.

Today’s visit will attempt to further diplomatic efforts to deter Russia from launching an invasion of Ukraine. Macron is also planning a trip to Washington and Berlin. After Russia gathered 100,000 troops on Ukraine’s border, Moscow asked NATO and the US for security guarantees. These guarantees outlined that Ukraine never be allowed to join NATO and for NATO to stop expansion eastward.

Macron will use this opportunity to display his leadership capabilities before he runs for re-election in April. At the same time, he will attempt to get concessions from Putin, especially in talks to end the pro-Russian separatist insurgency in eastern Ukraine that began in 2014. Hoping to build on last month’s limited progress in four-way “Normandy format”, a series of foreign dignitaries have made visits to Kyiv and Moscow attempting to dissipate tensions. So far, efforts have not made significant progress on the issue.

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