Efforts intensify to defuse tension looming over Ukraine
   Date :09-Feb-2022

A Ukrainian serviceman
 A Ukrainian serviceman uses a periscope wrapped in textile
bandages to observe a frontline position in the Luhansk region, eastern Ukraine on Monday as fears of a Russian invasion mounted. (AP/PTI)
INTERNATIONAL efforts to defuse the stand-off over Ukraine intensified on Monday, with French President Emmanuel Macron holding talks in Moscow to coordinate policies as fears of a Russian invasion mounted. The buildup of an estimated 1,00,000 Russian troops near Ukraine has fuelled Western worries of a possible offensive. White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan warned on Sunday that Russia could invade Ukraine “any day,” triggering a conflict that would come at an “enormous human cost.” Russia has denied any plans to attack its neighbour but demands that the US and its allies bar Ukraine and other former Soviet nations from joining NATO, halt weapons deployments there and roll back NATO forces from Eastern Europe. Washington and NATO reject those demands. Macron and Putin, during their lengthy meeting — with a dinner that featured the choice of sturgeon or reindeer — registered their disagreements but also emphasised a need for more talks.
“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, calling the discussion a possible first step toward 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,” he added. Putin, in turn, hailed France’s role in shaping European security and noted that their talks came on a day when the countries signed a friendship treaty 30 years ago. “I realise that we share concern about what’s going on in Europe in the security sphere,” Putin told Macron.