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Putin looks like a man still weighing his options – as Germany and US attempt to present a united front against Russia

Talks have taken place on both sides of the Atlantic to try to find a diplomatic solution to the Russia-Ukraine crisis, with mixed outcomes.

French President Emmanuel Macron travelled to Moscow for talks on Monday amid a stand-off over Russian military build-up near the Ukrainian border.

Meanwhile, thousands of miles away in the White House, the Biden administration expressed increasing alarm about the prospects of military conflict.

Read more: Russian President Vladimir Putin warns Europe will be dragged into military conflict if Ukraine joins NATO


Here, Sky News correspondents Diana Magnay and Mark Stone provide analysis on the situation from both sides after Vladimir Putin warned there would be “no winners” from the ongoing crisis.

Analysis by Diana Magnay, Moscow correspondent

It wasn’t the historic solution President Macron was after, but it wasn’t exactly a bust either.

The Russian president clearly enjoyed the opportunity to vent at the highest levels for a good near on six hours; his French counterpart clearly aware that on behalf of his NATO partners and allies, he’d have to take it for the team.

Plus there’s the peacemaker dividend which helps for Mr Macron, especially in an election year.

France’s President Emmanuel Macron met with Vladimir Putin. Pic: AP

President Vladimir Putin says there’s still the opportunity for dialogue.

The Minsk accords, the stalled peace agreements for settlement in Donbas are the only solution to the Ukraine question, he says, and the other Normandy format countries ie France and Germany, must work on getting Kiev to implement them.

As far as Russian security goes, Mr Macron lent a sympathetic ear and spoke of 30 traumatic years for Russia. Those are wins for Mr Putin.

He looks like a man who is still weighing his options. He sounds like a man who is enjoying the opportunity to vent – and not just to his inner circle of fellow security men or siloviki who mostly share his views.

Has it made a difference? We all like to be seen and heard.

Is it still up to President Putin what happens next? Absolutely.

Analysis by Mark Stone, US correspondent

By necessity rather than design, the meeting between President Joe Biden and the new German Chancellor Olaf Scholz was an attempt to present a united front against Russia.

Over the past few weeks, Germany has been seen as the outlier; the reluctant western partner in an otherwise robust attempt to threaten Russia with sanctions if it invades Ukraine and to bolster Ukraine with western defensive weapons.

President Biden himself has inadvertently exposed Western divisions over the past few weeks.

Pic: AP
Germany and the United States have been working closely together to ensure sanctions can be imposed quickly. Pic: AP

And so, repeatedly the two leaders insisted they are in lockstep agreement over how to counter Russian aggression.

That said, the German leader was reluctant to discuss, in an explicit way, the future of the Nord Stream 2 oil pipeline supplying Russian oil to Germany.

It was left to President Biden to say that the pipeline project is dead if a Russian invasion comes.

Mr Scholz is the successor to Angela Merkel – German Chancellor for so many years. Is she missed? I suspect so.

A fluent Russian speaker, she more than any European leader understood how Vladimir Putin ticked. Right now, that skill and her subtle diplomacy would be so valuable.

But after another day of talking, diplomacy lives on, just.


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