The Kremlin said Monday it was too early to discuss organising a summit between the Russian and American presidents, after Paris announced the possibility of a meeting to calm tensions over Ukraine.
The French presidency announced early Monday that an agreement had been reached in principle for US President Joe Biden to meet with Russian leader Vladimir Putin, so long as Moscow holds back from sending troops into Ukraine.
“It’s premature to talk about any specific plans for organising any kind of summits,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.
“There is an understanding that dialogue should be continued at the level of foreign ministers,” Peskov said, adding that there are “no concrete plans in place” for a presidential summit.
“If necessary, of course, the Russian and American presidents can decide to hold a telephone call or connect via other methods,” the Kremlin spokesman added.
“A meeting is possible if the heads of state consider it appropriate,” Peskov added.
Putin was set to chair an emergency meeting of the Kremlin’s Security Council later Monday, Peskov said.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was expected to speak by telephone with his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian later on Monday ahead of scheduled talks with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken Thursday.
Tensions between Moscow and Western capitals have been growing for weeks over a feared Russian attack on Ukraine and a large build-up of Moscow’s troops around Ukrainian borders.
Leaders of separatist-controlled regions in eastern Ukraine ordered civilians to leave for Russia last week, citing what they said was an escalation in tensions on the front line with Ukraine’s army.
Peskov told reporters that fresh fighting between separatists and the Ukrainian army had made the situation on the ground “extremely tense”.
“We’re talking about provocative and aggressive actions being carried out by the Ukrainian army that are endangering people’s lives,” Peskov said.
Fighting broke out between pro-Moscow separatists and the Ukrainian army in 2014 after Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine. More than 14,000 people have been killed in the fighting.
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