Germany, France, Ukraine call on Russia to cut back on troops at the border

Germany, France, Ukraine call on Russia to cut back on troops at the border
By: Politico Posted On: April 16, 2021 View: 16

Germany, France, Ukraine call on Russia to cut back on troops at the border

PARIS — Germany, France and Ukraine on Friday called on Russia to scale back its troops at the border with Ukraine, in order to deescalate rising tensions.

French President Emmanuel Macron hosted his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskiy for a working lunch in Paris on Friday, followed by a videoconference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

“They shared concerns about the growth of Russian troops on the border with Ukraine and in the illegally annexed Crimea. They called for these troop reinforcements to be dismantled in order to de-escalate the situation,” German government spokesperson Steffen Seibert said in a statement following the call.

The diplomatic advisers of France, Germany, Ukraine and Russia are due to meet on Monday, according to Zelenskiy, to continue their regular talks around the implementation of the Minsk agreements.

“What we are seeking to do is to bring Russia back to the negotiation,” an adviser to Macron told a group of reporters after the meetings. “France and Germany together assured President Zelenskiy of our support and our desire to continue working in our diplomatic and peaceful framework.”

The main purpose of Friday’s meetings, according to the adviser, was to “find a way to deescalate,” adding that “specific things were decided on what needs to happen on both sides,” but they declined to be more specific on what that means.

Zelenskiy came to Paris seeking more concrete support in the face of Russia’s latest escalation.

“I said very directly and very honestly that we need now to move very quick,” Zelenskiy said in English at a press conference following the meetings, noting that while the issue was mainly Ukraine’s problem it also concerns the “safety of Europe.” He thanked France and Germany for their “support.”

He also brought up Ukraine’s request for EU and NATO accession in his conversations with Macron.

“We sense the substantial support of France for giving Ukraine a membership accession plan to NATO, in principle it is agreed, but what I want is a more precise date,” Zelenskiy said in Ukrainian. “In June we will have the summit Ukraine-NATO, we will see the first reactions who is for, who is against.”

France considers this a matter to be discussed as a group among NATO allies, according to Macron’s adviser, who also dodged several questions by reporters on whether Macron expressed support for Zelenskiy’s request.

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