The Dallas Morning News
France, Germany pressure Russia
They want troops near Ukraine to withdraw
PARIS — The leaders of France and Germany are demanding the withdrawal of Russian troop reinforcements recently deployed at the border with Ukraine, the German chancellor’s office said Friday after the two heads of state held security talks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
Zelenskyy met Friday in Paris with French President Emmanuel Macron, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel joined them by teleconference. The Ukrainian president is trying to rally backing from the European Union and NATO amid growing tensions between his country and neighboring Russia.
Merkel’s office said the three “shared their concerns about the buildup of Russian troops on the border with Ukraine. … They demanded the withdrawal of these troop reinforcements so as to achieve a de-escalation of the situation.”
Ukraine and the West have sounded alarms in recent weeks about the concentration of troops along Russia’s western border, a buildup that the U.S. and NATO have described as the largest there since 2014, when Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula. Ukrainian forces and Russiabacked separatists have been fighting in eastern Ukraine for seven years.
France and Germany, which helped broker a peace deal that was signed in February 2015, are working toward more Ukraine-russia talks.