During a Sunday phone call, French President Emmanuel Macron and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed for the need to find a diplomatic solution to the ongoing crisis on Ukraine’s border.
Reuters reported that the French and Russian foreign ministers will meet in the coming days to hold diplomatic talks and seek to hold a summit where Russia, Ukraine, and NATO allies establish a new European security order.
A statement from Macron’s office said that the two presidents discussed “the need to prioritize a diplomatic solution to the current crisis” and that “if conditions are met,” a diplomatic path will allow for the establishment of this new security order the New York Times reported.
The Kremlin, however, appears not to believe that Western leaders are seeking a diplomatic resolution. Shortly after Putin’s conversation with Macron, the Kremlin said that leaders of Western nations were pushing the Ukrainian government to pursue a “military solution” to the ongoing conflict.
Earlier this month, ABC News reported that the Kremlin wants guarantees from Western nations and NATO allies that Ukraine and other formerly Soviet nations will not join defense alliances that purposefully exclude Russia.
Meanwhile, the Ukrainian government insisted that it does not plan to launch an offensive against the Russian-backed separatists in its eastern region despite Russian insistence to the contrary.
The French and Russian presidents agreed to resume diplomatic talks within the Normandy Format. The Normandy Format is a negotiating channel created a little less than a decade ago by France, Germany, Ukraine, and Russia to resolve a similar conflict when Russia attempted to annex Crimea in 2014.
The defense minister of the Russian-allied and Ukraine-bordering nation of Belarus announced that Russia’s military deployment in Belarus would be extended as the two nations continue their joint military exercises along the Belarusian-Ukrainian border.
Despite Russia’s insistence that it has no intention of pursuing an armed conflict, American leadership remains unconvinced. The United States continues to insist that it has intelligence indicating an imminent Russian invasion of Ukraine.
And, despite the increasingly menacing presence of Russian troops along Ukraine’s borders, Ukrainian national security officials believe that Russia is unlikely to pursue conventional means of warfare.
Oleksiy Danilov, President Zelenskyy’s top national security adviser, believes that Russia is most likely to pursue a series of intense cyberattacks and disinformation campaigns while increasing economic pressure to foster social discontent within Ukraine.
Amidst the chaos, Zelenskyy seeks to meet with Putin so that the two might reach a diplomatic solution between themselves.