Vladimir Putin (right) and Emmanuel Macron attend a joint press conference in Moscow. AFP
Gulf Today Report
Russian President Vladimir Putin says he is ready for compromise and will look at proposals put forward by French leader Emmanuel Macron after some progress had been made in the talks.
The coming days will be crucial in the Ukraine standoff, French President Emmanuel Macron said after the meeting, while still blaming the West for raising tensions over Ukraine.
Putin said the first Moscow summit he has held with a Western leader since the Kremlin began massing troops near its neighbor had been substantive, but also repeated warnings about the threat of war were Ukraine to join NATO.
Macron heads to Kyiv on Tuesday after offering Russia "concrete security guarantees" in an effort to dissuade Moscow from invading its neighbour Ukraine, with Russia's leader vowing to find compromise in response.
Vladimir Putin gestures during a joint press conference with Emmanuel Macron in Moscow. AP
Macron's visit comes during a week of intense Western diplomacy amid a major Russian military buildup on its southwestern frontier that has raised fears it could soon march into Ukraine.
Russia, jostling for influence in post-Cold War Europe, wants security guarantees that include a promise of no missile deployments near its borders and a scaling back of NATO's military infrastructure.
Putin told Macron Moscow would "do everything to find compromises that suit everyone", raising the prospect of a path to de-escalating the volatile situation.
Putin said several proposals put forward by Macron at talks on Monday could form a basis for moving forward on the crisis over Ukraine.
"A number of his ideas, proposals... are possible as a basis for further steps," Putin said after more than five hours of talks in the Kremlin.
Emmanuel Macron speaks during a joint press conference with Vladimir Putin after their talks in Moscow. AP
He did not provide any details but said the two leaders would speak by phone after Macron meets with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
The French president said he had made proposals of "concrete security guarantees" to Putin.
"President Putin assured me of his readiness to engage in this sense and his desire to maintain stability and the territorial integrity of Ukraine," Macron said.
"There is no security for the Europeans if there is no security for Russia," he added.
The French presidency said the proposals include an engagement from both sides not to take any new military action, the launching of a new strategic dialogue and efforts to revive the peace process in Kyiv's conflict with Moscow-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine.
With tensions soaring between Moscow and Ukraine and its allies, Macron was the first top Western leader to meet Putin since the crisis began in December.
The Biden administration hopes its threat of “severe economic consequences” deters Russia from invading Ukraine — an event Americans officials say could be imminent. In response, the US said it may ban the export of microchips
US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman and her Russian counterpart Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov opened their meeting at the US mission in Geneva at 8:55am (0755 GMT), a State Department spokesperson said.
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"It's certainly not a sign that things are moving in the right direction. It's certainly not a sign that Mr Putin has any intention to de-escalate. And it's certainly not a sign that he is recommitting himself to a diplomatic path forward," Kirby told "Fox News Sunday."
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