Putin tells Macron plans to withdraw troops from Belarus: French presidency

WION Web Team
NEW DELHI Updated: Feb 20, 2022, 09:54 PM(IST)

File photo: Russian President Vladimir Putin meets French President Emmanuel Macron in Moscow. Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

Leaders spoke for 105 minutes over the phone, and the upshot shows that Russia may be willing to back off from an invasion of Ukraine.

Russian President Vladimir Putin informed French President Emmanuel Macron that Russian troops would depart Belarus after the military drills were completed.

Western countries will no doubt attach little value to that assurance, given that Russian troops were expected to leave today, until it was announced otherwise.

Also read | Ukraine crisis: Belarus says Russian forces to remain for more drills

According to Reuters, the two presidents argued about who was to blame for the unrest in eastern Ukraine during their phone chat today, citing a French presidential adviser.

Watch | Gravitas Plus | Explained: The Russia-Ukraine crisis

According to the French official, Macron blamed Russian separatists and Putin on Ukraine. 

Also read | Russia planning biggest war since 1945, says Boris Johnson

Meanwhile, Belarus' defence ministry has said that Russian forces stationed in Belarus for military drills will remain in the nation forever, fueling fears that Moscow is contemplating an invasion of Ukraine. 

(With inputs from agencies)

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