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Putin, Macron continued to discuss Ukraine in their second call in 24 hours, says Kremlin

The presidents focused on the need to maintain dialogue involving the foreign ministries and political advisors

MOSCOW, February 21. /TASS/. Presidents Vladimir Putin of Russia and Emmanuel Macron of France held another telephone conversation regarding Ukraine in the early hours of Monday morning, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

"A telephone conversation between the leaders of Russia and France, the second in one day, was initiated by President Macron at about 1:00 am," he said. "The presidents continued to discuss the situation around Ukraine," Peskov added.

"They focused on the need to maintain dialogue involving the foreign ministries and political advisors [within the Normandy Four group consisting of Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine]," the Kremlin spokesman emphasized. "Contacts between the Russian and French foreign ministers are possible in the near future," he noted.

The Kremlin press service reported on Sunday that Putin had held a conversation with Macron, particularly saying that provocations staged by the Ukrainian military were the reason for the spike in tensions in Donbass. In addition, "attention was paid to NATO countries’ steps aimed at pumping Ukraine with advanced weapons and ammunition." Russia also emphasized that Kiev was only pretending to be engaged in the negotiation process, stubbornly refusing to implement the Minsk accords and agreements reached within the Normandy Four group. The Kremlin press service noted that given the current high tensions, the two presidents agreed that it would be reasonable to step up the search for diplomatic solutions involving the foreign ministries and the political advisors to the Normandy Four leaders.

Following a call with Putin, Macron held telephone conversations with US President Joe Biden, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. The Elysee Palace said later that Macron had suggested Putin and Biden should hold a summit, which could be followed by a meeting also involving the interested parties, in order to discuss issues related to security and strategic stability in Europe. According to Paris, the leaders of the US and Russia "agreed to the proposal of a summit." Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will prepare the summit’s agenda during their meeting on February 24.

The West and Kiev have recently been echoing allegations about Russia’s potential invasion of Ukraine. Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov castigated these claims as "empty and unfounded", serving as a ploy to escalate tensions, pointing out that Russia did not pose any threat whatsoever to anyone. However, Peskov did not rule out the possibility of provocations aimed at justifying such claims and warned that attempts to use military force to resolve the crisis in southeastern Ukraine would have serious consequences.