Paris: French President Emmanuel Macron has announced a breakthrough in talks surrounding the Ukraine border crisis, stating that Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Joe Biden will hold a summit in Moscow if Russia calls off any plans of invading its neighbour.
The announcement from the Elysée comes after a call between Macron and Putin on Sunday where both had agreed to find a diplomatic solution to this crisis.
The two countries' foreign ministers will meet in the coming days to that effect and will work on a possible summit at the highest level with Russia, Ukraine and allies to establish a new security order in Europe, the Elysee palace said.
The summit, proposed by Macron will be expanded to relevant stakeholders to discuss "security and strategic stability in Europe," a statement from the Elysee said, adding that preparations would start between Russia and the US on Thursday. The US is "committed to pursuing diplomacy until the moment an invasion begins," press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement.
"President Biden accepted in principle a meeting with President Putin ... if an invasion hasn't happened," the statement reads. It also specified that US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken will engage in talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Europe providing the same conditions were met.
"We are also ready to impose swift and severe consequences should Russia instead choose war. And currently, Russia appears to be continuing preparations for a full-scale assault on Ukraine very soon," she added.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov will also gold a meeting in the coming days.
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.
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.