man to man
French President Emmanuel Macron spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday in an attempt at persuading Moscow to de-escalate or pull back from the situation in Ukraine, Politico reports (though it seems Macron was unsuccessful in securing anything tangible on that front).
Rather, Putin is said to have used the call to accuse the U.S. and NATO of ignoring Russia's "fundamental concerns" as they relate to the conflict at hand, Politico writes. Per a Kremlin readout of the conversation, the Russian leader argued Western allies weren't responding to his core demands — such as "lasting, legally binding security guarantees" that NATO will halt its expansion, among other things.
That said, however, France24 reports that both leaders did agree de-escalation is needed, with Putin saying he had "no offensive plans."
According to a senior Elysée official, Putin also told Macron that the French president is "the only one with whom he can have such a deep discussion and that he cared about this dialogue," per Politico.
Macron, for his part, advised Putin to respect "the sovereignty of other countries" should he want to secure "Europe's trust and security," Politico writes.
The conversation was Putin's first with the West since earlier in the week, "when Washington and NATO formally rejected Russia's red line on NATO expansion," The Washington Post reports. On Friday, Moscow remained steadfast in its demands.
The Russian president did, however, agree to stay in contact with Macron, the Kremlin said, "leaving the door open to further diplomatic efforts," per the Post.