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Several countries, including France, at the bedside of Ukraine

Au in view of “tensions between Russia and Ukraine”, the leaders of Germany, the United States, France, Italy and the United Kingdom have “expressed their determination that sovereignty” of Ukraine “be respected,” Elysee said in a statement Monday, December 6.

While Russia is accused of preparing an attack on its Ukrainian neighbor, Emmanuel Macron and the other four heads of state and government have also “expressed their commitment to act to maintain peace and security in Europe”, added the French presidency following a phone call between the five leaders. According to the Élysée, they all recalled the need for Russia to re-engage in negotiations with Ukraine, within the framework of the so-called “Normandy” group, under the aegis of France and Germany.

This diplomatic coordination of the West comes on the eve of a long-awaited videoconference interview between Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin on the subject and after the warning on Monday from the White House which said it was ready to react against Moscow in the event of a Ukrainian aggression. The United States, in addition to taking economic sanctions, is ready to increase its military presence in Eastern Europe if Russia attacks Ukraine, a senior official in the Biden administration said on Monday.

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“The United States does not seek to find itself in a position where the direct use of American forces would be at the center of our reflections”, explained this official. Washington intends to favor, in the event of an invasion of Ukraine, “a combination” of several elements: “support for the Ukrainian army”, “strong economic sanctions” and “a substantial increase in support and capacities with our allies within NATO ”.

Moscow denies preparations for offensive against Ukraine

Sign of the peak of tension with Moscow, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky went to the front line with pro-Russian separatists in the east of his country on Monday. A senior American official told the Washington Post Friday that Russia was preparing to launch an offensive in early 2022 involving up to 175,000 men. Moscow has repeatedly denied any bellicose tendency and accused Western countries of increasing “provocations”.

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In mid-November, during a telephone interview with Vladimir Poutin, Emmanuel Macron had already expressed to him his “desire to defend the entire territory of Ukraine”, in reaction to the deployment of Russian troops on the Ukrainian border. Ukraine has been torn since 2014 by a war with pro-Russian separatists, of whom the Kremlin is considered the military godfather despite his denials. The conflict, which has claimed more than 13,000 lives, began after Russia’s annexation of the Crimean Peninsula.

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