Putin: US-led Exercises in Black Sea "Provocative"
In a phone call, Macron and Putin discuss the Belarus migration crisis and tensions in the Black Sea.
In a phone call that lasted almost two hours, French President Emmanuel Macron and Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed regional issues pertaining to Ukraine and Belarus.
Regarding the migrant crisis hitting Belarus on the Poland border, Macron and Putin both agree that de-escalation measures must be taken to ameliorate the crisis, which has put Belarus in hot water with the European Union. This comes amid last week's feud with Polish border patrol guards, who stopped migrants - mainly Iraqi and Afghani - from crossing to Europe.
Denying claims that Moscow is behind the migrant crisis, Putin vowed to "raise the topic" with Belarus' President, Alexander Lukashenko.
Black Sea maneuvers are "provocative"
Putin "drew attention to the provocative nature of the large scale exercises led by the United States and its allies in the Black Sea which are increasing tensions between Russia and NATO," the Kremlin said.
Both Macron and Putin expressed "dissatisfaction" with the situation in eastern Ukraine, which is worsening. However, both countries view the situation through different lenses: Macron asserts that France is ready to "defend the territorial integrity of Ukraine," whereas Putin, after last week's US-NATO military collaborations, considers it a "challenge".
Recently, NATO Chief Jens Stoltenberg warned Moscow against any aggression on Ukraine after knowing of "large and unusual concentrations of Russian forces" on the borders.
Furthermore, Putin told state television that Russia's Defense Ministry "had a proposal to hold its own unplanned exercises in the same waters." He continues, "But I believe that this is inappropriate and there is no need to further escalate the situation."
Russia to aid in the migration crisis
On Saturday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Russia is ready to help resolve the crisis on the Belarusian-Polish border.
"We are ready to do everything possible to help [resolve the crisis], if, of course, there is something that depends on us," Putin said on Rossiya 1.
The President denied Saturday that Moscow has any relation to the migrant crisis that has seen hundreds of migrants coming from West Asia getting stuck on the Belarusian-Polish border.
President Putin cast the blame for the crisis on the West's policies in West Asia and condemned Polish allegations that claim Russian involvement.