Following a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, French President Emmanuel Macron stated that the following days would be critical in de-escalating the Ukraine crisis.
During his first Moscow conference with a Western leader since Russian forces massed on Ukraine’s borders, Mr Putin implied that progress had been achieved.
Moscow has rejected any invasion intentions.
Western nations, on the other hand, have grown increasingly apprehensive about the likelihood of a confrontation.
According to US authorities, Russia has gathered 70% of the armed troops required for a full-scale invasion.
Following a meeting with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Washington on Monday, President Joe Biden threatened to cut down a crucial Russian gas pipeline to Germany if Moscow invaded Ukraine.
Boris Johnson, the British Prime Minister, has also expressed his support for sanctions. He also said that the UK is contemplating sending Royal Air Force (RAF) jets and Royal Navy warships to the region, according to The Times newspaper on Tuesday.
A number of Moscow’s demands have already been rejected by Western nations, including that the Nato defence alliance rule out Ukraine’s membership and diminish its military presence in eastern Europe.
Instead, they’ve recommended alternative topics for discussion, such as conversations about reducing nuclear weapons.
Mr Macron told reporters that the next days will be “decisive” and “demand extensive conversations that we will pursue together” after speaking with Mr Putin over a five-hour meal that featured reindeer with sweet potatoes and blackberries.
Some of Mr Macron’s plans “may form the basis of additional collaborative initiatives,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said, adding that it was “probably still too early to talk about.”
After the French president meets Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv on Tuesday, the two will chat again.
Mr Putin then reiterated his prior threats that if Ukraine joins NATO and attempts to retake Crimea, which Russia took eight years ago, by force, Europe might be drawn into a massive confrontation.
He questioned French reporters, “Do you want France to confront Russia?” “That is exactly what will happen. There will be no winners in this game.”
According to the Associated Press, Chancellor Scholz warned reporters in Washington that “a lot more may happen than they’ve possibly counted with themselves” and that “Russia must recognize that a lot more could happen than they’ve probably calculated with themselves.”
Mr Scholz, who is in Washington for the first time since becoming chancellor and has been chastised for his handling of the Ukraine crisis, added that the US and Germany were “absolutely united” on sanctions against Russia if it invaded Ukraine, saying, “We will do the same steps and they will be very, very hard to Russia.”
He was, however, more vague on Nord Stream 2 than US Vice President Joe Biden, who stated that “if Russia invades,” the US “would bring a stop” to the contentious project, which will quadruple Moscow’s gas shipments to Germany.
In response to a query about how he would accomplish this, Mr. Biden said, “I guarantee you, we will be able to do it.”
The 1,225-kilometer (760-mile) Nord Stream 2 pipeline took five years to build and cost $11 billion (£8 billion), but it has yet to begin operations after German regulators stopped its clearance in November because it did not comply with German law.