President of France Emmanuel Macron during a telephone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin said that France intends to protect the territorial integrity of Ukraine, the L'Orient-Le Jour publication said, citing the press service of the French president.
"Emmanuel Macron expressed to Vladimir Putin 'our grave concern and our will to defend the entire territory of Ukraine,' as the French presidency said on Monday evening, in response to the deployment of Russian troops on the border with Ukraine," the publication said on its website on Monday evening.
During the interview, which lasted almost two hours, the Russian president repeated to Macron several times that "the negotiations will be complicated because of the position of the Ukrainian authorities."
According to the source, "the United States, the European Union and France in recent days have already expressed concern about the deployment of Russian troops on the border with Ukraine. In turn, on Monday, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg warned Russia against any further 'aggressive actions' on the border with Ukraine."
"We must prevent a military escalation," L'Orient-Le Jour said, citing a spokesperson for the German Foreign Ministry, who called on Russia to "show restraint" and "return to the negotiating table."