Russia denies the promise not to undertake new military maneuvers announced by France after the meeting between Macron and Putin | International

The French government announced on Monday night, after a meeting of more than five hours between the presidents of France and Russia, that Emmanuel Macron had managed to extract from Vladimir Putin the promise that Russia “will not undertake new military initiatives”. Just a few hours later, the Kremlin has not only categorically denied it, but has also stressed that France is not the correct interlocutor because it does not even lead NATO. “Essentially, it is false. Moscow and Paris could not close any pact. It is simply impossible,” Putin’s spokesman, Dmitri Peskov, told reporters.

Macron met with Putin in Moscow as part of a diplomatic tour that includes another meeting Tuesday with Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky. Both leaders offered a press conference in which no type of pact or concession was discussed, except that they would talk again soon to address what the French leader manages to wrest from Kiev. However, Elíseo sources said shortly after that Moscow promised not to adopt new military initiatives, “which allows us to contemplate a de-escalation.”

“France holds the presidency of the countries of the European Union. France is a member of NATO, where Paris does not hold the leadership. In this bloc the leadership is held by another country. What agreements can we discuss?” the Kremlin spokesman wondered rhetorically at the news of an alleged pact.

After their meeting, Putin and Macron gave a press conference where the Russian leader began with a scolding against the French towards “peaceful NATO”, which included the enumeration of several wars in which its members participated and where he openly asked if Paris is ready to defend Kiev if it tries to retake Crimea. “Will France fight Russia?” asked the Russian president. And he later suggested that the open-door policy advocated by the Atlantic Alliance for Ukraine’s accession “is a rather vague interpretation of the fundamental principle of indivisible security that exclusively benefits the United States and possibly some other NATO member.” Broadly speaking, this principle is based on the fact that a country should not be reinforced if this puts another at risk.

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Asked about the de-escalation that Macron sought in Moscow, Peskov replied that the Kremlin is also interested, but on the part of the United States and Europe. “It is very necessary because the tension increases day after day. We see how Western countries send troops to Ukraine, send planes loaded with weapons. Ukraine conducts maneuvers and tests new weapons models these days,” Putin’s spokesman said.

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Peskov also commented on some controversial words by Putin during Monday’s press conference. “Like it or not, be patient, my beauty,” said the president, demanding that Kiev comply with the 2015 peace pacts and grant a special status to the separatist region of Donbas, something that Ukraine rejects as long as the Russian military presence remains there. . “The president had in mind that if the country has assumed some obligations and signed them by the head of state, then they must be fulfilled,” the spokesman replied when asked if the Kremlin did not see the connotation of a violation in those statements. “I bet it’s very difficult to translate it into French,” he added.

new maneuvers

Precisely Kiev will receive Macron with the start of its own military exercises in response to the Russians. The Ukrainian Defense Minister, Oleksii Reznikov, confirmed on local television that they have started this Tuesday and will last until February 20, just like those scheduled by Russia and Belarus along the Ukrainian border.

Paris assured that Putin promised to withdraw his 30,000 soldiers from Belarus once the military exercises scheduled between February 9 and 20 are completed. The Kremlin has insisted in recent weeks that it will do so, and Peskov reiterated it once again on Tuesday. “No one has ever said that Russian troops would remain in Belarus. This has never been discussed. The Union State (supranational entity between Russia and Belarus) is now conducting a military exercise and, once completed, the forces will safely return to their bases,” added Peskov.

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In any case, Russian military activity does not stop. Long-range weapons such as S-400 anti-aircraft missile batteries and Su-35 fourth-generation fighters have been added to the Belarusian exercises in recent days. And the Defense Ministry announced new maneuvers shortly after the Macron-Putin meeting ended. These will take place in the south of the country, in areas close to Ukraine such as the Volgograd and Stavropol regions, as well as in the Caucasus republics and in Abkhazia and South Ossetia. All these territories are claimed by Georgia, another former Soviet republic whose entry into NATO is vetoed by Moscow within the security guarantees required from Washington and Brussels. These exercises will last several weeks and include combined arms training with missiles, battle tanks and ships.

Likewise, the Russian armed forces have also announced that six large landing ships of the Baltic and Northern fleets pass through the Bosporus and Dardanelles straits on their way to the Black Sea. A day before, a cruiser, a frigate and another anti-submarine ship arrived in the Mediterranean through the Strait of Gibraltar; and a week before, another flotilla led by another cruiser also entered the Mediterranean through the Suez Canal.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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