European leaders on Tuesday pledged unity in their goal of averting war on the continent, as France’s President Emmanuel Macron said he saw a path forward on easing tensions with Russia over Ukraine after an urgent round of shuttle diplomacy, according to France24.
Arriving in Berlin after two days of talks in Kyiv and Moscow, Macron urged continued „firm dialogue” with Russia as the only way to defuse fears Russia could invade its ex-Soviet neighbour.
„We must find ways and means together to engage in a firm dialogue with Russia,” he said in Berlin, where he was to debrief German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Polish leader Andrzej Duda on his Kremlin meeting and his talks with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv.
Standing alongside Macron and Duda, Scholz stressed the trio „are united by the goal of maintaining peace in Europe through diplomacy and clear messages and the shared will to act in unison”.
The Polish leader said he believed war could still be averted. „We have to find a solution to avoid war,” said Duda. „I believe that we will achieve it. In my opinion what’s most important today is unity and solidarity.”
The French leader, who on Monday had a five-hour meeting with Vladimir Putin, said the Russian president had told him that Russia „would not be the source of an escalation”, despite amassing more than 100,000 troops and military hardware on Ukraine’s border.
Macron said he now saw the „possibility” for talks involving Moscow and Kyiv over the festering conflict in eastern Ukraine to move forward, and „concrete, practical solutions” to lower tensions between Russia and the West.
The focus will now turn to separate talks involving high-ranking officials in Berlin on Thursday that Zelensky said could pave the way for a summit with the leaders of Ukraine, Russia, France and Germany aimed at reviving the stalled peace plan for Kyiv’s conflict with Moscow-backed separatists.
Putin, who has demanded sweeping security guarantees from NATO and the United States, said after his talks with Macron that Moscow would „do everything to find compromises that suit everyone”.
Kyiv has laid out three „red lines” it says it will not cross to find a solution – no compromise over Ukraine’s territorial integrity, no direct talks with the separatists and no interference in its foreign policy.