Before meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that he would inform him about his talks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, RIA Novosti reported.
Putin said that his recent conversations with Zelensky are worth mentioning to Macron because they contained “matters that can be discussed”. He also added that his phone calls with Zelensky inspire “a cautious optimism”.
At the same time, Macron said that he intended to discuss the possibility of holding a summit in the Normandy Format to negotiate a resolution of the conflict in eastern Ukraine.
“Of course we will talk about Ukraine. We will clarify the stances that our countries take, and the statements that have recently been made by President Zelensky. I know that President Putin has also been in touch with President Zelensky. We will also discuss this situation together and, possibly, arrange future meetings between us, together with [German] Chancellor Merkel and President Zelensky in the Normandy Format,” Macron said.
The French leader also noted that he hopes to arrange a Normandy Format summit in the next few weeks.
He remarked that Zelensky “is showing some courage in the political sphere,” and that this is encouraging.
“I would like us to soon be able to give a new dynamic to this process, a process which we began in Minsk and which we will resolve together. First and foremost, it is a matter of security,” the French leader observed.
Macron added that, apart from security, it is also important to discuss the political process in south-eastern Ukraine.
The French president also expressed the hope that Russia and the EU would establish a new security architecture.
Putin, in turn, commented on France’s role in Russia’s reinstatement in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.
“France’s support in a number of matters, including, say, the matter I mentioned, related to Russia’s reinstatement in the Council of Europe, France’s stance played a significant, if not key role,” Putin remarked.
The Russian president did not rule out the possibility of a return to the G8 format, which became G7 after Russia was excluded from the group.
“Any contact with our partners in any format is always useful. We do not rule anything out,” Putin said at the press conference before the talks with Macron in response to a question about a possible return to the G8 format.
Macron and Putin met on Monday at the Fort de Brégançon, the official summer retreat of the French President. The meeting took place only a few days before the start of the G7 summit, which will be held in Biarritz, France, between August 24 and 26.
Previously it was learned that Macron had promised Zelensky that he would talk to Putin. The French and Ukrainian presidents spoke on the phone after four Ukrainian soldiers were killed in a ceasefire violation in the Donbas on August 7.