Macron takes leading role in Ukraine-Russia crisis…..

French president to meet Russia’s Putin on Monday and Ukraine’s Zelenskyy a day later in a bid to defuse tensions.

French President Emmanuel Macron will meet Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Monday in a bid to avert a feared Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The French leader has said he is aiming for “dialogue with Russia and de-escalation” from the talks, which are scheduled to begin at 14:00 GMT.

Macron’s effort is the highest-profile intervention yet by a Western leader to defuse tensions; he will visit Kyiv for talks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Tuesday.

The concentration of an estimated 100,000 Russian soldiers and military equipment near the Ukraine border has fuelled Western fears that Moscow may be planning an attack. Russia denies it is preparing for an invasion and has accused the United States-led NATO military alliance of undermining the region’s security.

It wants NATO to bar Ukraine and other ex-Soviet nations from membership and roll back forces from Eastern Europe. Washington and NATO have rejected Russia’s demands as non-starters. READ MORE

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