MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russian President Vladimir Putin described Monday’s talks with French President Emmanuel Macron in the Kremlin as useful, substantive and business-like, and said that some of Macron’s ideas could form a basis for further joint steps.
The French leader travelled to Moscow for talks amid an East-West standoff over a Russian military buildup near Ukraine and a Kremlin campaign for security “guarantees” from Washington that would include a halt to NATO expansion.
In a joint news conference after the talks, Putin said that a number of Macron’s ideas concerning security were realistic and that the two would talk again once Macron had travelled to Kyiv to meet Ukraine’s leadership.
“A number of his ideas, proposals, which are probably still too early to talk about, I think it is quite possible to make the basis of our further joint steps,” he said.
“We have agreed that after his trip to the Ukrainian capital we will call each other again and exchange views on this matter,” he said.
Russia has built up more than 100,000 troops near Ukraine, stirring fears that Moscow may be planning to invade. Russia has dismissed those fears.
(Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin, Andrew Osborn, Darya Korsunskaya; writing by Tom Balmforth; Editing by Mark Trevelyan)