April 16, 2021 05:44 GMT – By RFE/RL
French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel will hold talks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on April 16 in a show of support for Kyiv amid concerns about a buildup of Russian troops along the border with Ukraine and in occupied Crimea.
Macron will receive Zelenskiy for lunch in Paris and both leaders will then talk with Merkel on a videoconference call, the French presidency said.
“Ukraine’s sovereignty is under threat,” Macron’s office said. “All our work is aimed at avoiding an escalation and defusing tensions.”
Zelenskiy said the discussions in Paris will help prepare so-called Normandy Format talks involving the leaders of Ukraine, Russia, France, and Germany to try to resolve the Ukraine conflict. France and Germany have been mediators in the conflict since 2015.
Recent photographs, video, and other data suggest major movements of Russian armed units toward or near Ukraine’s border and into Crimea, fueling concerns that Russia is preparing to send forces into Ukraine.
The United States and NATO have described it as the largest Russian military buildup since 2014, when Moscow illegally annexed Crimea and backed separatists in the east of Ukraine in a conflict that has killed more than 13,000 people.
Zelenskiy’s meeting with Macron and Merkel comes after Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba called for stronger Western backing, saying that “words of support aren’t enough.”
Kuleba, speaking on April 15 after talks in Kyiv with his counterparts from Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, asked the Baltic states to reach out to other European Union and NATO members about offering “practical assistance” to Kyiv.
Kuleba accused Moscow of “openly threatening Ukraine with war and the destruction of Ukrainian statehood” and said it was necessary to show Russia that its actions in eastern Ukraine could have “very painful” consequences.
“The red line of Ukraine is the state border. If Russia crosses the red line, then it will have to suffer,” he warned.
Russia’s Defense Ministry has said the troops are merely responding to “threatening” actions by the NATO alliance and participating in military drills.
Russian Military Activity Ramps Up In Crimea Along Major Highway From Russia
U.S. President Joe Biden and Merkel earlier this week called on Russia to reduce its border deployment.
The call came after German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer on April 14 accused Russia of seeking provocation with its troop buildup.
“My impression is that the Russian side is trying everything to provoke a reaction,” Kramp-Karrenbauer said.
Zel must understand now that France and Germany are treacherous, lying, cheating, strongly pro-putler countries. A couple of decent Germans; Kramp-Karrenbauer and Manfred Weber, are showing integrity, but the kraut establishment will do their best to minimise their influence. As for France, it’s a 100% putler country. I would not trust any of them. If the granny-grabbing turd Macron gets kicked out, he will be replaced by a full on putler jackboot-licker; the vile POS Le Pen.
Macron’s office sent out the message to the press, “All our work is aimed at avoiding an escalation and defusing tensions.” They want to end the conflict as everyone does but they are not willing to accept the fact that this is all Putler’s work. Solve what? Putler invaded, Putler go home. Solved. Should be simple enough even for career politicians. Its also very simple that this whole thing started because the misfit marauder was worried he would lose Sevastopol…and he should. I don’t care if they unload the cargoes from 2 B-52s on the BSF and start WWIII, it would be worth it.
I don’t blame Zel for talking to those bastards. It is something, however disagreeable and toxic, that has to be done.
However, there is only one solution and that is what he and Kuleba must strain every sinew to achieve :
The Budapest signatories MUST be persuaded to honour their obligations in full. Those obligations can be honoured without ww3, which would be unimaginable.
Britain, Poland, Pribaltika, Canada and the US must leave Nato and form a new trade, military and intel-sharing alliance with Georgia,Moldova and Ukraine.