French President Emmanuel Macron has pressed for an early summit meeting to solve the Ukraine crisis. That was his wish, Macron said during a visit by Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Mediterranean residence Fort Brégançon on the French Riviera.
Macron proposed a new meeting in the so-called Normandie format "in the coming weeks". Among others, Germany and France have tried to mediate in the conflict between Kiev and the pro-Russian separatists since 2014. The four-round was named after the place of the first meeting in France Normandy format. Recently there was such a meeting 2016 in Berlin.
Macron said there was a "real chance" for peace in Ukraine and with the new Ukrainian President Volodymyr Selenskyj a "real change" in the situation. Putin said: "We need to discuss this, and there are a few things that arouse some cautious optimism." Russia also wanted to stick to the Normandy format. "In my opinion, there is no alternative to the Normandy format, so we'll support it, of course." However, another meeting should take place only if concrete results could be achieved.
Russia is open for the return to G8
Pro-Russian separatists and Ukrainian government forces have been fighting each other for five years in eastern Ukraine. Since Selensky's election, there has been hope to continue the stagnant peace process. In the middle of this week, Germany's Foreign Minister Heiko Maas (SPD) will meet Moscow with his Russian colleague Sergei Lavrov. The conflict in Ukraine will also be a topic.
In 2014 Russia was excluded from the ranks of the leading industrial nations - at that time G8 - as a result of its annexation of the Ukrainian Crimea peninsula. Putin did not rule out a return of Russia to today's G7 group at the meeting with Macron. In 2014, the Russian president had dismissed the summit as unimportant. The G7 meets again on 24th August in Biarritz, south-west France, under this year's French presidency.