The Russian president met his French counterpart in a very socially distanced meeting in Moscow as the two leaders mulled a diplomatic end to the Ukraine crisis.

Iran PressEurope: Newly released images from a sitdown Monday between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, show the two men sitting at opposite ends of a long, oval table in an ornately decorated room in the Kremlin, according to the New York Post.

Macron’s meeting with Putin comes as relations between Russia and the West have hit a new low in recent weeks following the tensions over Ukraine. The United States, its NATO allies, and Ukraine have accused Russia of amassing troops near Ukraine’s border for a possible invasion. Moscow rejects the allegation and insists that deployments are defensive in nature.

“Dialogue is necessary because that’s the only thing that will help, in my views, to build a context of a security and stability on the European continent,” Macron said after the meeting, in which he urged de-escalation.

“I’m happy to have this opportunity to have a deep discussion on all these issues … and to start building an effective response,” added the French president, who was scheduled to travel to Ukraine on Tuesday.

The French president’s team played up the physical gap between Macron and Putin, posting a photo to Twitter that was taken from over Macron’s shoulder as he entered the room — with the Russian president waiting, hand in his pocket, at the other end.

“Let’s start building a response that is useful for Russia, useful for all of our Europe, a response that makes it possible to avoid war, to build the elements of confidence, stability and visibility. Together,” Macron captioned the image.

Putin thanked Macron for the visit, saying: “I see how much efforts the current leadership of France and the president personally is applying in order to solve the crisis related to providing equal security in Europe for a serious historical perspective.”

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov called the visit between the two leaders “very important,” before adding that “the situation is too complex to expect a decisive breakthrough after just one meeting.”​

Peskov insisted the US and its allies continue to ignore Putin’s security demands and the “atmosphere has remained tense.”


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