(PatriotWise.com)- After Russian President Vladimir Putin’s one-on-one meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday, an unidentified French official told reporters that for the time being, the Kremlin had promised not to conduct additional military maneuvers near the border with Ukraine.
However, on Tuesday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov denied the French official’s claim, saying the account is “not right.” Peskov also denied the same French official’s claim that Putin promised to withdraw the Russian troops currently in Belarus once the joint military exercises conclude later this month, saying Putin offered no assurances about when Russian troops would leave Belarus.
Putin and Macron met for five hours at the Kremlin Monday evening where they spoke one-on-one with no additional aides in the room. And in a late-night joint press conference afterward, Putin said the proposals made by Macron were “too early to speak about,” but conceded the talks could create “a foundation for our further steps.” The Russian president said they would do what it takes to “find compromises that suit everyone.”
At the press conference, President Putin again warned that if Ukraine is allowed to join NATO, it would be an existential threat, adding a NATO-allied Ukraine would try to retake Crimea and war would be the result.
Moscow has amassed over 100,000 troops near its border with Ukraine, prompting both the US and NATO to raise the alarm of an imminent military invasion of the country.
The Kremlin, however, had denied it has any plan to invade.
During the joint press conference Monday night, Putin was asked if Russia would invade Ukraine, but he refused to rule out the possibility. He insisted Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky implement the 2015 peace plan negotiated in Minsk. This peace deal could give the Kremlin a way to influence Ukrainian foreign policy.
Before he met with President Putin, President Macron told reporters that one possible model under consideration was what he called the “Findlandization” of Ukraine.
During the Cold War, Finland was able to maintain its independence from the Soviet Union only on the condition that it remain neutral. Macron suggesting a “Findlandization” of Ukraine implies the West might agree not to allow Ukraine to join NATO, thereby leaving Russia free to exercise considerable influence in the country.