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Putin and Macron speak once more by cellphone, maintaining diplomatic traces open.

The diplomatic push to avert a wider battle between Russia and Ukraine continued with President Emmanuel Macron of France chatting with the Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin, by phone on Monday for the second time in 4 days.

The Kremlin mentioned the 2 leaders had mentioned Ukraine and Mr. Putin’s calls for for “safety ensures” that would come with a legally binding halt on NATO enlargement to the east. They agreed to remain in contact by cellphone and to “work promptly on the opportunity of holding an in-person assembly,” the Kremlin mentioned.

The French presidency mentioned in an announcement that the cellphone name was a part of “the identical logic of de-escalation” because the earlier exchanges between the 2 presidents. An in-person assembly was not dominated out, although nothing was scheduled but, the assertion mentioned.

With the retirement of the German chief Angela Merkel, Mr. Macron has sought to place himself as Europe’s chief voice in worldwide affairs, casting himself as a NATO ally who’s unbiased of Washington and has open channels to U.S. adversaries.

In 2014, after Russia seized Crimea from Ukraine and Russian-backed separatists took management of a slice of jap Ukraine, France and Germany fashioned the “Normandy format” talks with Russia and Ukraine — excluding the USA to maintain superpower rivalry out of the combination.

The Normandy group helped dealer a cease-fire in jap Ukraine in 2015, and has continued to fulfill since then — together with final week, when diplomats from the 4 international locations gathered in Paris to debate the newest disaster.

The French presidency mentioned Mr. Macron and Mr. Putin welcomed “optimistic progress” made by talks underneath the Normandy format, and that they’d proceed to “pursue dialogue.”

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