France says Macron, Putin agree to work for east Ukraine ceasefire

French President Emmanuel Macron. (Photo: AFP)
PARIS — French President Emmanuel Macron and Russian leader Vladimir Putin on Sunday agreed to work for a ceasefire in eastern Ukraine, Macron's office said.اضافة اعلان

In a phone conversation lasting 105 minutes, they also agreed on "the need to favor a diplomatic solution to the ongoing crisis and to 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".

Russian agencies later reported out of Moscow that both ministers would speak on Monday.

Putin and Macron said they would work "intensely" to allow the Trilateral Contact Group, which includes Ukraine, Russia, and the OSCE, to meet "in the next few hours with the aim of getting all interested parties to commit to a ceasefire at the contact line" in eastern Ukraine where government troops and pro-Russian separatists are facing each other.

"Intense diplomatic work will take place in the coming days," Macron's office said, with several consultations to take place in the French capital.

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

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

Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and US President Joe Biden would now consult on the Ukraine crisis "within hours", Macron's office said.

The French president may also exchange with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi and "other close partners", it added.

In Sunday's call, Putin told Macron that he intends to withdraw Russian troops from Belarus as soon as ongoing military exercises there are over, the Elysee also said.

The French presidency said that this claim "will have to be verified", adding it appeared to contradict a statement by the Belarusian government that the Russian military would "continue inspections" beyond Sunday's previously announced end of the exercises, leaving Moscow with a large force near the northern Ukraine border.

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