Biden Speaks With French President Amid Ukraine-Russia Tensions

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Shelby Talcott Senior White House Correspondent
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President Joe Biden spoke Wednesday with French President Emmanuel Macron following Macron’s meeting with Russia and Ukraine.

“They discussed President Macron’s recent meetings in Russia and Ukraine,” the White House said in a brief readout of the call. “They also talked about ongoing diplomatic and deterrence efforts, undertaken in close coordination with our Allies and partners, in response to Russia’s continued military build-up on Ukraine’s borders.”

Macron met with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Tuesday. His meetings, and the subsequent call with Biden, coincide with ongoing tensions between Ukraine and Russia.


Biden and Macron’s call Wednesday is the second within a week, as the two leaders also spoke Sunday.

Macron publicly said after his meeting with Putin that the Russian president had vowed against escalating the situation with Ukraine. White House press secretary Jen Psaki suggested Biden did not share Macron’s optimism regarding Putin’s plans.

“What we’re looking at here … is not reports out of a meeting, but whether or not Russia is taking de-escalatory steps,” Psaki said during Wednesday’s press briefing. “They are not. They are taking escalatory, not de-escalatory, steps. We certainly hope that that changes.”

Putin came out following his meeting with Macron and denied that they had come to a de-escalation agreement, The Hill reported. (RELATED: US Approves Plan For Troops To Help Americans Evacuate Ukraine If Invaded)

While the administration has sought to find a diplomatic path to de-escalate Russia-Ukraine tensions, its efforts have so far appeared to accomplish little. Reports indicate Russia has amassed around 125,000 troops — complete with tanks, artillery and more — near Ukraine’s border.

While Russia claims it is not planning to attack Ukraine, two U.S. officials noted the numbers equate to roughly 70% of what’s needed to launch a full-scale invasion, according to BBC News.