Kremlin Is Top Destination For Spooked European Leaders
Rarely in recent years has the Kremlin been so popular with European visitors. French President Emmanuel Macron arrives Monday. The Hungarian prime minister visited last week. And in days to come, the German chancellor will be there, too. All are hoping to get through to President Vladimir Putin, the man who singlehandedly shapes Russia’s course amid its military buildup near Ukraine and whose designs are a mystery even for his own narrow inner circle.
“The priority for me on the Ukrainian question is dialogue with Russia and de-escalation,” Macron said this week as reporters were asking about a possible in-person meeting with Putin. “I’m very worried by the situation on the ground.”
Russia expert Tatiana Kastoueva-Jean, from the French Institute of international relations (IFRI), said “we can at least give (Macron) credit for maintaining the dialogue… It’s helpful to have a channel to express European concerns directly to Putin.”
“It’s not because (Macron) goes to Russia that he is abandoning Ukraine,” she added.
Macron recently acknowledged “a discussion with Russia is always difficult.” He’s tried repeatedly to set up personal links with Putin, inviting him to the sumptuous Versailles palace and, in a rare honor, his summer residence at the Fort de Bregancon to give a boost to peace talks with Ukraine during summer 2019.
> Read the article on the Associated Press's website