French President flies to Moscow on Monday in a risky diplomatic move, seeking commitments from Russian President Vladimir Putin to dial down tensions with Ukraine, where Western leaders fear the Kremlin plans an invasion.

Iran Press/ Europe: According to Reuters, Emmanuel Macron has made a frenetic series of phone calls with Western allies, Putin and the Ukrainian leader over the past week. He will follow up on Tuesday with a visit to Kyiv, staking a lot of political capital on a mission that could prove embarrassing if he returns empty-handed.

Western media and officials have recently accused Russia of massing nearly 100,000 troops near Ukraine, claiming that Russia may intend to attack Ukraine in the near future; Moscow has denied all the allegations, though.

Two sources close to Macron said one aim of his visit was to buy time and freeze the situation for several months, at least until a "Super April" of elections in Europe - in Hungary, Slovenia and, crucially for Macron, in France.

The French leader, who has earned a reputation for highly publicised diplomatic forays since he took power in 2017, has both tried to cajole and confront Putin over the past five years. His efforts have brought close dialogue with the Russian leader as well as painful setbacks.

Soon after his election, Macron rolled out the red carpet for Putin at the Palace of Versailles, but also used the visit to publicly decry Russian meddling during the election. Two years later, the pair met at the French president's summer residence.

The French president's visit to Moscow and Ukraine comes less than three months before a presidential election at home. His political advisers see a potential electoral dividend, although Macron has yet to announce whether he will run.


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