Kremlin expects no decisive breakthrough from Putin-Macron meeting

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia expects no decisive breakthrough from Monday’s talks between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron, but expects that Macron will propose ways to ease tensions in Europe, the Kremlin said.

The Ukraine crisis is set to dominate the talks, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told a briefing.

Moscow denies planning an invasion of Ukraine but is seeking security guarantees including a pledge that Ukraine must never allowed to join NATO. The West has rejected that, but said it is willing to discuss other issues such as arms control.

Macron is expected to seek commitments from Putin to dial down the tensions.

“The situation is too complex to expect decisive breakthroughs in the course of one meeting,” Peskov said.

But he said Russia was aware of certain ideas for lowering tensions that Macron had spoken about before and planned to share with Putin.

Peskov said it was not possible to speak of a lull in tensions while Western governments continued to talk about a looming Russian attack on Ukraine.

He said Moscow had heard nothing new in recent days on the security guarantees it is requesting, and “our Western interlocutors prefer not to mention this topic”.

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