French President Emmanuel Macron is heading to Moscow on Monday and Kyiv on Tuesday, as part of diplomatic efforts to ease tensions between Russia and Ukraine.
Russia has about 100,000 troops stationed along the border with Ukraine, and the United States and United Kingdom say they have intelligence suggesting Russian President Vladimir Putin may order an invasion in the near future. Leading up to his Moscow visit, Macron has been on the phone, speaking with Putin, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, President Biden, and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Russia is demanding security guarantees from the U.S. and NATO, including that Ukraine is permanently barred from ever being admitted to NATO. "We're heading to Putin's lair, in many ways it's a throw of the dice," one person close to Macron told Reuters.
Macron is hoping that his meetings with Putin and Zelensky will buy some time, two people with knowledge of the matter told Reuters, and keep anything major from happening before April elections in France, Hungary, and Slovenia.