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"This is a bad sandbox, we don’t like this game"—what Putin talked to Macron about for almost 6 hours

Macron-Putin meeting on February 7—the highlights. Photo: Kremlin website

Macron-Putin meeting on February 7—the highlights. Photo: Kremlin website

Vladimir Putin and Emmanuel Macron, the Presidents of Russia and France, met in Moscow on February 7. The conversation lasted almost six hours, the parties talked about the crisis around Ukraine, the security of Europe, NATO and other issues. The last time the leaders saw each other in person was two years ago, but since mid-September they have been talking regularly by phone.

Overall impression

Both Macron and Putin called the conversation meaningful. Both acknowledged the need for a dialogue for "security and stability on the European continent". The French President stressed that the next few days would be decisive.

Quote"I am sure that we can build security in Europe based on the OSCE practices, but we also need innovative solutions. We need to talk to Russia, at every stage we can find a compromise. Our geography will not change, so we must work as neighbors. It cannot be said that we have agreed, but the process has begun," Macron stated.

Russian threat to Ukraine and "Minsk"

Macron stated that the only way to resolve the crisis around Ukraine is "political" one, and the Minsk agreements are its basis.

Putin stressed that Kyiv had set a course for their dismantling. He added that the Ukrainian side ignores the possibility of peacefully re-establishing the country's territorial integrity through direct negotiations with the so-called DPR and LPR.

Quote"Well, like it or lump it—tough it out. It must be fulfilled" the Russian leader summed up.

Putin added that it was Ukraine that had concentrated "100,000—125,000 troops in the southeast of the country."

Quote"They don’t fulfill it themselves, but they demand that we fulfill it. Let's not play like that, it's a bad sandbox. We don’t like this game," Putin said.

What about NATO

Putin stated that the North Atlantic Alliance is not really a "defensive organization" and complained that NATO considers the Russian Federation an enemy. He added that "we are not moving towards NATO, but NATO is moving towards us."

Quote"We strongly oppose the expansion of NATO through new members in the East... Why is the possible admission of Ukraine so dangerous? There is, after all, a problem. European countries, including France, believe that Crimea is part of Ukraine, and we believe that it is part of the Russian Federation. And if there are attempts to change this situation by military means, and the doctrinal documents of Ukraine state that Russia is an adversary and it is possible to return Crimea by military means, imagine that Ukraine is a member of NATO. The 5th Article has not been canceled. This means that there will be a military confrontation between Russia and NATO. I asked at a press conference last time: should we fight with NATO? I want to ask you, there is a second part of this question: do you want to fight with Russia?" Putin stated.

The Russian President recalled the nuclear capabilities of his country.

"If Ukraine joins NATO and begins to regain Crimea by military means, European countries will automatically be involved in a military conflict with Russia. Of course, the potential of NATO and Russia cannot be compared. We understand. But we also understand that Russia is one of the leading nuclear states… There will be no winners. And you will be involved in this conflict against your will," he stressed.

Bonus for Poroshenko from Putin

The Russian leader stated that the case against the former President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko is an "excessive bid for the success of the current leadership" of the country. He also added that he was ready to grant political asylum to his former colleague in the Russian Federation "for humanitarian reasons" and not because he agreed with his policy.

Macron is going to Kyiv

Unlike a number of other leaders and diplomats, Macron decided to visit Moscow first and then Kyiv. On February 8, he is scheduled to meet with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

At a briefing following the talks, Putin noted that his colleague from France outlined a number of ideas "that are too early to talk about," but they could become the basis for further steps regarding Ukraine.

Quote"We hope that in Kyiv, Macron will speak about the things discussed today. Let's see how his meeting will go there—we agreed to call each other and discuss the results," Putin stressed.

Context. Recall: Russia has deployed more than 100,000 troops near the borders of Ukraine. Moscow denies planning an invasion but says it is prepared to take unspecified "military-technical measures" if its requirements are not met.

Thank 🎉

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