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Macron to Putin: Our goal is to avoid war

At the start of his meeting with Putin in Moscow, on Monday, Macron said that “the discussion may be the beginning of the path that we want to take, which is de-escalation,” adding that he wants “to start building a collectively beneficial response to Russia and the rest of Europe.”

The French president considered that this “beneficial response” aims to “avoid the outbreak of war” and “building elements of confidence, stability and vision for all.”

Macron considered that the current situation in Europe was “delicate” and called for everyone to be “very responsible”.

Macron praised the ongoing dialogue with Russia since 2019, saying that it is “essential because it is the only one that can allow building real security and stability for the European continent.”

“I am very happy to see you, dear Emmanuel,” Putin told Macron at the start of the talks.

The Russian President considered that Moscow and Paris have “common concerns about security in Europe”, praising “French efforts aimed at resolving the issue of security in Europe”, especially to “find a solution to the crisis” in Ukraine.

The meeting between Putin and his guest began at about 18:30 (15:30 GMT), according to scenes broadcast by Russian television, in which the two presidents appeared to be sitting in front of a very long white table in the Kremlin, and the Russian President followed this approach recently during his meetings with foreign leaders due to the Corona epidemic.

Macron’s visit to the Kremlin comes amid tensions between Western countries and Russia, which is accused of massing tens of thousands of troops on its border with Ukraine in preparation for an invasion of its neighbour.

The French president is the first first-ranking Western official to meet with Putin since tensions escalated in December. On Tuesday, he will meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

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