Macron, Putin agree to work for eastern Ukraine ceasefire

Both leaders push for implementation of ‘Minsk protocol’

Updated - February 21, 2022 10:09 am IST

Published - February 20, 2022 09:46 pm IST

Russian President Vladimir Putin and France’s President Emmanuel Macron. File

Russian President Vladimir Putin and France’s President Emmanuel Macron. File | Photo Credit: AFP

French President Emmanuel Macron and Russian leader Vladimir Putin on Sunday agreed to work for a ceasefire in eastern Ukraine, Mr. Macron's office said.

In a phone conversation lasting 105 minutes, they also agreed on "the need to favour a diplomatic solution to the crisis and do everything to achieve one", the Elysee said, adding that French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov would meet "in the coming days".

Mr. Putin and Mr. Macron said they would work ‘intensely’ to allow the Trilateral Contact Group — Ukraine, Russia and the OSCE — to meet “in the next few hours to getting all interested parties to commit to a ceasefire at the contact line” where government troops and pro-Russian separatists are facing each other.

“Intense diplomatic work will take place in the coming days,” Mr. Macron’s office said, with several consultations to take place in the French capital.

Mr. Macron and Mr. Putin also agreed that talks among Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany should resume to implement the so-called Minsk protocol which in 2014 had already called for a ceasefire.

They also agreed to work towards "a high-level meeting with the aim of defining a new peace and security order in Europe", Mr. Macron's office said.

A Washington report quoting Secretary of State Antony Blinken said U.S. President Joe Biden is willing to meet Mr. Putin "at any time" to prevent a war in Ukraine.

Mr. Blinken told CBS's "Face the Nation" that Mr. Biden has made "very clear that he's prepared to meet President Putin at any time, in any format, if that can help prevent a war."

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