US talks with France and EU amid tensions with Russia

US talks with France and EU amid tensions with Russia
Emmanuel Macron of France sees himself as a peace-broker in the Russia-Ukraine crisis. Credit: Belga

On Wednesday, French President Emmanuel Macron said that he would discuss the Ukraine crisis with his US counterpart President Joe Biden and that he would not rule out a trip to Moscow to try to find a diplomatic solution.

"The priority is de-escalation and to find political terms of the way out of the crisis, which requires the ability to move forward on the basis of the Minsk agreements," he said in a press conference.

The president said that a potential trip to Moscow, and perhaps also to Kyiv, would depend "on the progress of discussions in the coming hours."

"I am not ruling anything out because I think that France's role, especially with the presidency [of the EU Council] this semester, is to try to create this common solution," said Macron, who has held several recent talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

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Assuming the role of peace-broker as France currently holds the presidency of the EU Council, Macron spoke of finding a "common solution", without which "there will be no order of security and stability for Europe."

The US announced on Wednesday that it will send 3,000 troops to Eastern Europe, a decision Moscow denounced as "destructive".

US helps Europe in search for new gas supply

The US has recently announced its search for a new European gas supply to prevent disruptions in the fallout of the situation in Ukraine. The Biden administration is working closely with European allies in seeking new sources of natural gas for Europe, Bloomberg News Agency reported on Wednesday.

A Russian attack on Ukraine could lead to a gas shortage. The US and Europe also fear that Russia will take countermeasures if economic sanctions are issued against it, including turning off the gas tap. Europe depends on Russia for about 40% of its gas.

China is one nation that has been consulted on the issue, although without any agreement so far. US and European officials have also consulted counterparts in Japan, South Korea and India about diverting gas supplies to Europe, the sources said.

However, there is little additional capacity in the global gas market and a quick fix is all but impossible.

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