Putin tells Macron invasion claims are ‘provocative speculation’

Russian President Vladimir Putin told his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron on Saturday that accusations Moscow plans to attack Ukraine were "provocative speculation" and could lead to a conflict in the ex-Soviet country.

Putin tells Macron invasion claims are 'provocative speculation'
Ukrainian servicemen load a truck with the FGM-148 Javelin anti-tank missiles provided by the US. Photo: Sergei Supinsky/AFP

Putin and Macron discussed what Moscow called “provocative speculation related to an allegedly planned Russian ‘invasion’ of Ukraine,” the Kremlin said after phone talks.

In a statement, the Kremlin accused Kyiv’s allies of sending “modern weapons” to the ex-Soviet country and being unwilling to force Kyiv authorities to implement Western-brokered agreements to halt a festering conflict in eastern Ukraine.

“Conditions are being created for possible aggressive actions of the Ukrainian security forces in the Donbass,” the Kremlin added.

Putin, who hosted Macron at the Kremlin last Monday, stressed that there was no reaction from the United States and NATO to Russia’s demands to provide security guarantees, the statement said.

“The unwillingness of the leading Western countries to push the Kyiv authorities to implement the Minsk agreements was also emphasised,” the Kremlin said.

The two spoke for one hour 40 minutes, the French presidency said, amid a flurry of diplomacy aimed at dissuading Putin from marching into his western neighbour. US President Joe Biden is due to speak to the Russian leader later on Saturday.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


France ‘strongly condemns’ Russia’s expulsion of its diplomats

France "strongly condemns" the expulsion of 34 of its diplomats by Russia, the foreign ministry said Wednesday, a tit-for-tat move by Moscow after Paris ordered some Russian staff to leave.

France 'strongly condemns' Russia's expulsion of its diplomats

Saying the step had “no legitimate basis”, the ministry said in a statementthat “the work of the diplomats and staff at (France’s) embassy in Russia… takes place fully within the framework of the Vienna Convention on diplomatic and consular relations” — whereas Paris expelled the Russian staff in April on suspicion of being spies.

Moscow said Wednesday it was expelling 34 “employees of French diplomatic missions” in a tit-for-tat move following the
expulsion of Russian diplomats from France as part of joint European action over Russia’s campaign in Ukraine.

“Thirty four employees of French diplomatic missions in Russia have been declared persona non grata,” Russia’s foreign ministry said in a statement, adding that they have two weeks to leave the country.

Moscow made the announcement after summoning France’s ambassador to Russia, Pierre Levy, and telling him that the expulsion of 41 employees of Russian diplomatic missions was a “provocative and unfounded decision”, the statement

“It has been stressed that this step causes serious damage to Russian-French relations and constructive bilateral cooperation,” the foreign ministry said.

French President Emmanuel Macron initially led diplomatic outreach to the Kremlin over Moscow’s military campaign in Ukraine but his talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin have eventually tapered off and overt French military
support to Ukraine has increased in recent months.