Macron-Putin chat falls short, with UN Security Council to meet over Ukraine

·3 min read

Russian President Vladimir Putin told French leader Emmanuel Macron in a telephone conversation that the US has "failed to take into consideration Russia's security concerns" over the Ukraine crisis.

In a report of the conversation carried by the Russian Tass News Agency, Putin pointed out that there was no mention of Russia’s concerns about Nato expansion.

He said that the West had failed to address the issue of the deployment of offensive weapons near Russian borders.

It had also failed to address the return of Nato military potential and infrastructure to the 1997 position when the Russia- Nato Founding Act was signed.

However, during the call, which took place on Friday, they both agreed on the need for a "de-escalation" in the Ukraine crisis with Putin saying he had "no offensive plans", an aide to Macron said.

The Russian leader indicated that Moscow will carefully examine the response to the draft agreements, received from the US and Nato on 26 January, and will decide on what action to take then.

If the talks between Macron and Putin did not yield any fixed promises from either side, the Kremlin said that "the presidents of Russia and France agreed to remain in close contact."

The Founding Act

In May 1997, Nato and Russia signed the Founding Act on Mutual Relations, Cooperation and Security.

The Act states that Nato and Russia “do not consider each other as adversaries,” and that both sides will “refrain from the threat or use of force against each [other].”

The document announced the creation of a Nato-Russia Permanent Joint Council.

In it, Nato stated that it “had no intention of deploying nuclear weapons on the territory of new members.” Expansion of the number of Nato members was not mentioned either.

However, much to the annoyance of Moscow, just two years after the Russian-Nato Founding Act was signed, former Warsaw Pact countries Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland joined the Alliance.

Five years later, Bulgaria, and Slovenia followed, as well as non-aligned Romania and the former Soviet republics of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

In 2009, Albania and Croatia followed while in 2017 the former Yugoslav republic of Montenegro joined. The most recent new member to join is North Macedonia, which is also a former province of Yugoslavia.

Nervous Russia

Russia got particularly nervous when former Soviet republics Ukraine (in 2002) and Georgia (in 2004) started a process that could have led to Nato membership.

In 2008, Russia invaded Georgia and strengthened its hold over two of its breakaway regions, Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

In 2014, when the pro-Russian government of Victor Yanukovich was ousted in the “Maidan” popular uprising, the Russian army invaded Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula in the Black Sea and backed pro-Russian “independence” rebels in the eastern Donbas region.

Security Council meet

Meanwhile, the United States said it has called for an open meeting of the UN Security Council next Monday to address the crisis surrounding Ukraine over what it called "threatening behavior" by Russia.

With fears rising that Russia could invade its neighbour, a former Soviet state, Washington's United Nations envoy Linda Thomas-Greenfield said the council faced a "crucial" matter for international peace and security.

Originally the United States had hoped to hold the Security Council meeting on Friday, according to diplomats.

But they said they had agreed to push it to Monday so as not to interfere with the Friday phone call between Macron and Putin.

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