The latest on the Ukraine-Russia crisis

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Watch the dubious videos that Russia may use to justify invasion
02:41 - Source: CNN

Where things stand

  • President Biden has agreed “in principle” to a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, as long as Russia does not further invade Ukraine, according to a White House statement.
  • The potential Biden-Putin summit was proposed by French President Emmanuel Macron, and comes amid renewed US warnings that war is imminent.
  • Ukraine says it recorded more than 100 truce violations in the east, after a day of heavy weapons fire that saw fears of a Russian invasion mount.
  • And, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has warned Russia is planning “the biggest war in Europe since 1945.”

Our live coverage has moved. Head here for the latest updates on the tensions between Ukraine and Russia. 

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White House official says Blinken and Lavrov will discuss the possible Biden-Putin summit

A White House official says Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will discuss a possible summit between President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin when they meet later this week.

But the official added a word of caution about those discussions. 

“Blinken and Lavrov will discuss further if the invasion hasn’t started by then — in which case it’s all off,” the official said.

Another senior official added that no plans currently exist for a summit when it comes to timing or format. 

Macron spoke with Putin for a second time on Sunday

French President Emmanuel Macron has spoken with Russian President Vladimir Putin for a second time in fewer than 24 hours, the Elysée Palace said in a statement late Sunday. 

The talk comes as Macron proposed a summit between US President Joe Biden and Putin, the Elysée Palace said.

Of the second Putin call late Sunday Paris time, the Elysée said: “The phone call between the French President and President Putin started at 11 p.m. Paris time (1 a.m. Moscow time).” That is 5 p.m. ET on Sunday.

The Elysée said the call lasted an hour. 

This is the second time Macron has spoken to Putin in fewer than 24 hours, according to the French presidency. The first call lasted one hour and 45 minutes.

Macron’s second call with Putin follows his conversation with Biden earlier on Sunday. The White House said Biden and Macron spoke for 15 minutes.

Context: President Joe Biden has agreed “in principle” to a meeting with President Putin as long as Russia does not further invade Ukraine, according to a statement from White House press secretary Jen Psaki. CNN has asked the Kremlin if it has also agreed in principle, but has not received an immediate response. 

French President proposes Biden-Putin summit during call with Biden, Elysée says 

French President Emmanuel Macron has proposed a summit between US President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Elysée Palace said in a statement.

The statement said the potential summit can only be held “if Russia does not invade Ukraine.”

Macron and Biden spoke by phone for around 15 minutes to discuss the situation in Ukraine on Sunday.

The French presidency also said Macron had two calls with Putin on Sunday. 

The Elysée said Macron proposed a summit on security and strategic stability in Europe with Biden and Putin, and then with all other stakeholders. The statement did not name those stakeholders, but said Macron would work with them to prepare the content of these discussions. 

The Elysée claimed both Biden and Putin agreed to the summit “on principle.”

Biden has agreed “in principle” to a meeting with Putin as long as Russia does not further invade Ukraine, according to a statement from White House press secretary Jen Psaki.

CNN has reached out to the Kremlin to ask about the agreement in principle for a summit, but did not receive an immediate response.

The Elysée said the content of the summit will be prepared by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov during their planned meeting on Feb. 24. CNN is yet to confirm this assertion from the French presidency. 

President Biden agrees to meet with Putin "in principle" as long as Russia does not invade Ukraine

President Joe Biden has agreed “in principle” to a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin as long as Russia does not further invade Ukraine, according to a statement from White House press secretary Jen Psaki.

This potential summit, according to an Elysee Palace statement, was proposed by French President Emmanuel Macron.  

The meeting, according to Psaki, would happen after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov meet on Feb. 24. 

 “President Biden accepted in principle a meeting with President Putin following that engagement, again, if an invasion hasn’t happened,” Psaki said in a written statement on Sunday night. 
“We are always ready for diplomacy. We are also ready to impose swift and severe consequences should Russia instead choose war. And currently, Russia appears to be continuing preparations for a full-scale assault on Ukraine very soon.”

Satellite imagery shows Russian ground forces dispersing to positions close to the Ukraine border

A satellite image shows an overview of helicopter deployments at Valuyki, Russia on February 20.

New satellite imagery shows intensified activity among Russian units close to Ukraine’s northeastern border, with units that were in garrisons appearing to take up field positions.

The satellite images were collected by Maxar on Sunday.

Maxar assesses that “multiple new field deployments of armored equipment and troops have been observed northwest of Belgorod and near Soloti and Valuyki, Russia.”

These towns are within 35 kilometers (around 21 miles) of the Russian border with Ukraine.

Maxar observes, “This new activity represents a change in the pattern of the previously observed deployments of battle groups (tanks, armored personnel carriers, artillery and support equipment). Until recently, most of the deployments had been seen primarily positioned at or near existing military garrisons and training areas.”

“Today (Sunday) most of the combat units and support equipment at Soloti have departed and extensive vehicle tracks and some convoys of armored equipment are seen throughout the area.”

The images show that encampments or staging grounds that contained substantial forces last Sunday, February 13, are now relatively empty.

“Some equipment has also been deployed east of nearby Valuyki, Russia in a field approximately 15 kilometers north of the Ukraine border,” Maxar noted.

Separately, CNN has geolocated several videos from the region over the weekend that show long columns including tanks, infantry fighting vehicles and howitzers moving through rural areas in the Belgorod oblast (district).

“A number of new field deployments are also seen northwest of Belgorod (deployments are approximately 30 kilometers from the border with Ukraine) with much of the equipment and troops positioned in or near forested areas,” Maxar observed.

The images show extensive tracks where armor has moved across the countryside.

“Other company-sized units are deployed within farm and/or industrial areas.”

CNN has observed that some tanks and other vehicles in the area appears to have been marked with a large “Z” – suggesting they are being formed into a fighting unit.


02:27 - Source: CNN

Ukrainian military alleges separatists in the east fired on their own territory to 'falsely accuse' Ukraine

The Ukrainian Joint Forces Command has alleged that Russian-backed separatists launched “‘heavy armament fire’ against their own territory in an effort to ‘falsely accuse’ the armed forces of Ukraine and further escalate the situation.”

It said the barrage began at 9 p.m. local time Sunday and involved firing from Lobacheve toward the city of Luhansk. Both places are within the self-declared Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR) in eastern Ukraine.

“With Ukrainian defenders refraining from any aggressive acts that could possibly trigger a violent response, the occupation forces continue to destroy civilian infrastructure on the temporarily occupied territories and sporadically shell civilian settlements,” the command said.

“By doing so, the occupation forces once again demonstrated their cowardice and complete disregard for the lives and health of the local civilian population.”

For its part, the LPR alleged that Ukrainian forces were “firing artillery into the territory of the LPR along the entire line of contact, presumably they are preparing to attack.”

Ivan Filiponenko, an LPR official, said, “All along the line of contact, the enemy undertook preparations for an intended offensive.” 

The separatists have accused Ukraine of preparing for an offensive against the two self-declared republics, an accusation that has been denied by Ukraine.

On Saturday, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe said it deplored “the spreading of disinformation about an imminent military action by the Ukrainian government forces.”

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and French President Emmanuel Macron speak about situation in Ukraine

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during the 2022 Munich Security Conference on February 19, in Munich, Germany.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and French President Emmanuel Macron spoke about the situation in Ukraine on Sunday, according to readouts from the United Kingdom and France.

In a readout of the call, the Élysée Palace said the two leaders updated one another on their diplomatic efforts involving Ukraine, including Macron’s call with Russian President Vladimir Putin, where France said the leaders agreed to hold trilateral talks to reach a ceasefire.

“The Prime Minister noted that President Putin’s commitments to President Macron were a welcome sign that he might still be willing to engage in finding a diplomatic solution. The Prime Minister stressed that Ukraine’s voice must be central in any discussions,” a Downing Street spokesperson said in a statement.

“The leaders agreed on the need for both Russia and Ukraine to meet their commitments under the Minsk Agreements in full. They also underscored the need for President Putin to step back from his current threats and withdraw troops from Ukraine’s border,” the Downing Street statement said.

Johnson and Macron agreed to stay in close contact over the next week.

New intel adds to US fears that Russia is readying for military action

A Ukrainian serviceman stands in a shelter on a position at the line of separation between Ukraine-held territory and rebel-held territory near Zolote, Ukraine, Saturday, Feb. 19.

The US has intelligence indicating orders have been sent to Russian commanders to proceed with an attack on Ukraine, according to two US officials and another source familiar with the US intelligence. 

The intelligence regarding the order to tactical commanders and intelligence operatives is one of several indicators the US is watching to assess if Russian preparations have entered their final stages for a potential invasion. 

Other indicators, such as electronic jamming and widespread cyber-attacks, have not yet been observed, according to some of the sources. The sources cautioned that orders can always be withdrawn or that it could be misinformation meant to confuse and mislead the US and allies.

But the news of the intelligence comes after President Biden said on Friday that he believes Putin has made a decision to invade — a comment echoed by Vice President Kamala Harris and by Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Sunday. Blinken said the Russian playbook is “moving forward.”

“We believe President Putin has made the decision,” Blinken said Sunday in an interview on CNN. “But until the tanks are actually rolling and the planes are flying, we will use every opportunity and every minute we have to see if diplomacy can still dissuade President Putin from carrying this forward.”

The Washington Post first reported on the orders being given.

CNN’s Katie Bo Lillis contributed to this report

Biden and Macron expected to speak soon

President Joe Biden delivers a national update on the situation at the Russia-Ukraine border at the White House in Washington, DC, February 18.

President Joe Biden is expected to speak Sunday with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron following Macron’s back-to-back phone calls with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky, a source familiar said.

The exact timing of the conversation wasn’t clear. 

Macron is working to find a diplomatic path to avoid conflict, as reflected in the Élysée readouts of his calls today. 

Biden’s Sunday National Security meeting regarding Ukraine has ended, per a White House official. The meeting began at 11:30 a.m., a White House official told CNN.

Some more context: French President Emmanuel Macron and Putin agreed on Sunday on “working intensively to enable a meeting of the Trilateral Contact Group to be held in the next few hours,” the Élysée Palace said in a readout of the call on Sunday.

The Élysée readout said the aim of the meeting would be to “obtain a commitment from all parties to a ceasefire on the line of contact.” 

The Trilateral Contact Group includes representatives from Ukraine, the Russian Federation, and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).

Per the statement, the two leaders agreed on the need to “give priority to a diplomatic solution to the current crisis and to do everything possible to achieve it.”

Evacuees from separatist-held eastern Ukraine continue to cross into Russia by foot, by car 

Evacuees from separatist-controlled parts of eastern Ukraine continued to cross into Russia through a border checkpoint Sunday, entering the southern Rostov region by car, bus and by foot, a CNN reporter on the ground observed.  

At the Avila-Uspenka border checkpoint in the Rostov region, residents leaving Donbas were greeted by representatives of Russia’s Emergency Services Ministry and members of a pro-Putin youth group in a makeshift camp.  

The traffic coming out of Donetsk was moderate with families driving in cars with Donetsk People’s Republic license plates and occasional groups of evacuees trickling in small groups of two to four people, mostly families with young children.

One evacuee from the city of Donetsk told CNN that her family evacuated on short notice after hearing shellfire early Sunday morning. 

“Everything happened spontaneously, we heard sounds of shelling around 1:00 a.m., I grabbed my baby and ran,” Irina, 35, told CNN near the checkpoint border crossing, after getting driven to the checkpoint and then crossing by foot with her 5-year old son, Danil. Irina declined to give her last name to CNN out of safety concerns. 

The local Russian emergency services set up makeshift cafeterias, toilets and showers, along with two rows of inflatable makeshift tents inside which some evacuees slept on bunk beds while waiting to be taken to other accommodation.  

Meanwhile, rows of empty buses waited to take the evacuees camps and sanatoriums in the nearby port city of Taganrog. 

“We left voluntarily, no one is making us leave and some people choose to stay,” said Viktor Ivanovich, 63, who gave only his first name and patronymic. He crossed the border with his wife in their car.  

When asked whether they were given instructions on when they might be able to come back, the couple said no.   

Local officials in the Rostov region have declared a state of emergency after separatist leaders on Friday ordered the evacuation of civilians from the region.

Macron and Putin agree on trilateral talks "in next hours," Élysée Palace says

French President Emmanuel Macron and Russia’s Vladimir Putin agreed on Sunday on “working intensively to enable a meeting of the Trilateral Contact Group to be held in the next few hours,” the Élysée Palace said in a readout of the call on Sunday.

The Élysée readout said the aim of the meeting would be to “obtain a commitment from all parties to a ceasefire on the line of contact.” 

The Trilateral Contact Group includes representatives from Ukraine, the Russian Federation, and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).

Per the statement, the two leaders agreed on the need to “give priority to a diplomatic solution to the current crisis and to do everything possible to achieve it.”

The French presidency said that “intense diplomatic work” would be carried out “in the coming days and weeks,” with French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov to meet soon.

The two leaders “noted differences in interpretation of the reasons for the deadlock” in the negotiations over the Ukraine crisis, an Elysee source said.

“Mr. Putin blames the impasse in negotiations on Ukraine, whereas the president of the Republic reminded him that Ukraine would not negotiate with separatists directly,” the source added.

The Élysée Palace said that diplomatic work “should make it possible to progress on the basis of the latest exchanges by associating all stakeholders,” in order to reach “a meeting at the highest level with a view to defining a new peace and security order in Europe.”

It added that Macron and Putin had made “firm commitments to take all useful actions to avoid escalation, reduce risks and preserve peace” to carry out this work “under serious conditions.”

Pentagon press secretary says "we still think there's time to prevent" a Russian invasion of Ukraine

Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby holds a news briefing at the Pentagon on February 14, in Arlington, Virginia.

Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby doubled down on the Biden administration’s strategy of using the threat of sanctions as a deterrent and rejected increased calls for imposing pre-invasion sanctions, saying, “[Russian President Vladimir Putin] has not conducted another invasion in Ukraine yet, and we still think there’s time to prevent that.”

“It’s supposed to be a deterrent. If you punish somebody for something they haven’t done yet, then they might as well just go ahead and do it,” Kirby added. “And we’re hoping that that could affect the calculous of Mr. Putin.”

Kirby said on Fox News Sunday that Putin still has many options on the table if he chooses to take a diplomatic off-ramp to the tensions, saying, “We have made serious proposals and talked about changing, for instance, the scope and scale of some of our exercises in Europe, being willing to talk about offensive missile capabilities in Europe. We have certainly put forward other proposals to try to convince Mr. Putin that we’re serious.”

Kirby made clear the issue of Ukraine’s membership in NATO, however, is “an issue for Ukraine and for NATO. That is not something that Mr. Putin can simply institute a veto over or decide for himself, that kind of thing is again between the alliance and Ukraine.”

Some context: Kirby would not address individual claims made by Putin, but he characterized them as “outrageous claims” and said, on the whole, “these are just not credible.”

He said that Putin is “playing the victim,” which he said is exactly out of the “Russian playbook.”

“It is absolutely right out of the Russian playbook. He may be moving Xs and Os around the field right now militarily, but it seems like he’s using the same old playbook,” Kirby said, adding, “And I don’t want to make light of this analogy. This isn’t a football game. This is potentially war and lives are at stake here.” 

Roughly 75% of Russian conventional forces deployed against Ukraine, US official says

Russian and Belarusian troops take part in joint military drills in the Brest, Belarus, on February 19.

According to the latest US intelligence assessment, Russia now has close to 75% of its conventional forces postured against Ukraine, a US official with direct knowledge of the intelligence told CNN. 

The concentration of forces within striking distance of Ukraine is highly unusual and part of the reason the US believes Russia is ready to attack, the official said.

This includes some 120 of Russia’s total estimated 160 Battalion Tactical Groups or BTGs which are positioned within 60km of Ukraine, according to the official. While that figure represents 75% of Russia’s principal combat units, it is less than half of the total troops in the Russian military.

US officials have reported that Russian troops combined with separatist forces could be as high as 190,000 deployed around Ukraine.

Some 35 of 50 known air defense battalions are deployed against Ukraine. In addition, the US estimates some 500 fighter and fighter-bomber aircraft are within range of Ukraine, as well as 50 medium to heavy bombers.

Together, the Russian forces now vastly outnumber Ukrainian military forces, according to the assessment. 

To note: CNN cannot independently verify the intelligence.

On Thursday, the British Ministry of Defense tweeted an assessment that said, “Russia has over half of its ground combat power near the Ukrainian border.”

Finland's president sees current situation "colder" than during Cold War

Finland's President Sauli Niinistö speaks during the UN Climate Change Conference November 2, 2021, in Glasgow, Scotland.

President Sauli Niinistö of Finland told CNN Sunday that the world is “almost in a colder situation” than the actual Cold War era as tensions between the US and Moscow have reached a boiling point amid fears Russia will invade Ukraine.

“Then, we had at least some agreements between the United States and Soviet Union, limiting arms and so on,” he told CNN.” “Now we do not have actually anything, no agreements anymore. So, this makes the situation, in my opinion, much more vulnerable.”

President Biden has said he is convinced Russian President Vladimir Putin has decided to invade Ukraine, with his secretary of state, Antony Blinken, telling CNN on Sunday that the “playbook” for invasion is moving forward.

Recent shelling in eastern Ukraine and a vehicle blast in separatist-held Donbas has raised fears that Putin could be inciting violence to justify an invasion.

When asked if he thought an invasion would happen, Niinistö told CNN there were three possibilities.

“First one is that somehow they could settle the issue of eastern Ukraine, Minsk agreement and all that. I think it’s far away. Then second option is that we will see a full-scale war,” he said. “And the third one, which is as bad, is that we see this kind of, like I described, two steps forward, one back, that is increasing tensions all the time. And the third one might at the moment, I would say, that might be the nearest one at least.”

Finland's president says he does not fear that Putin would invade his country

President Sauli Niinistö of Finland said Sunday that he is not afraid his country could be next as Russian President Vladimir Putin increases military buildup around Ukraine.

“We are not afraid not at all,” Niinistö told CNN regarding his country which borders Russia to its north. “Actually, the situation in Finnish borderline and in whole Baltic Sea area is now quite peaceful. We are not afraid of Russian tanks, tanks suddenly crossing Finnish border.”

Acting US ambassador says she hopes Putin will ultimately decide on a diplomatic path in Ukraine

Acting US Ambassador to Ukraine Kristina Kvien speaks with press on February 15, in Ukraine.

Acting US Ambassador to Ukraine Kristina Kvien expressed hope on Sunday that Vladimir Putin could ultimately decide not to invade Ukraine, despite President Biden’s assessment the Russian leader has made up his mind to do so.

“Despite President Putin’s continued buildup of troops on the border, aggressive rhetoric, and now false flag operations and flooding of disinformation globally, we still hope and wish that President Putin would make the decision to take the diplomatic path,” she said in an interview on ABC.

Kvien said it would be an “easy decision” for Putin to choose to take a path laid out by the US in communications with the Kremlin, and “we’re hoping and urging him to do it.”

The US diplomat said she agrees with Biden and other top administration officials’ determination that Putin has made up his mind and is “likely” to move in on Ukraine, but that doesn’t mean his decision is final.

“It doesn’t mean President Putin can’t change his mind. But I do think that right now, he’s moving towards a large-scale invasion,” she said.

Kvien noted the refugee crisis that could occur in Europe after an invasion of Ukraine, saying it would be “destabilizing.”

Blinken to meet with Russian foreign minister "provided Russia doesn't invade Ukraine"

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on CNN that he’s planning to meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov this week “provided Russia doesn’t invade Ukraine in the interim.”

“If [Russia] doesn’t invade, I will be there. I hope he’ll be there, too. I will do everything I can to see if we can advance a diplomatic resolution to this crisis created by Russia and its aggression against Ukraine,” Blinken said.

He noted that the US “put on the table a number of ideas that we can pursue that would strengthen security” for Russia, the United States, and the rest of Europe.

“That’s the conversation I welcome having with Foreign Minister Lavrov. It depends entirely on if Russia invades or not,” Blinken said.

US will use "every opportunity and every minute" to deter Russia from invasion, Blinken says

Secretary of State Antony Blinken told CNN that the US is prepared to do everything it can to prevent Russia from invading Ukraine

Blinken reiterated President Biden’s concerns that Russia has already set invasion plans in motion.

“As we described it, everything leading up to the actual invasion appears to be taking place,” Blinken said. “All these false flag operations, all of these provocations to create justifications. You heard President Biden say this the other night. We believe President Putin has made the decision, but until the tanks are actually rolling and the planes are flying, we will use every opportunity and every minute we have to see if diplomacy can still dissuade President Putin from carrying this forward.”

US Secretary of State says he remains concerned about a Russian invasion

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks with CNN on Sunday.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he was concerned about reports that troops from Russia and Belarus will continue joint military exercises past their planned end date as the thread of a Russian invasion looms large.

“It tells us that the playbook we laid out, I laid out at the UN Security Council last week about Russia trying to create a series of provocations as justifications for aggression against Ukraine is going forward,” Blinken told CNN.

Blinken continued: “We’ve seen that over the last few days. Now they’re justifying the continuation of exercises, exercises in quotation marks that they said would end now. The continuation indefinitely of those, quote, unquote, exercises, on the situation in eastern Ukraine, a situation that they created by continuing to ramp up tensions.”

Blinken noted that Russia has been “escalating the forces they have across Ukraine’s borders over the last months, from 50,000 forces to 100,000 to now more than 150,000.” 

“So all of this along with the false flag operations we’ve seen unfold over the weekend tells us the playbook we laid out is moving forward,” he said.

Shelling continues in eastern Ukraine. In Kyiv, it's just another Sunday

Families are enjoying the sun on the bank of the Dnieper river in Kyiv on Sunday, February 20.

As Ukrainian authorities reported further ceasefire violations in the east of the country and top Western officials, including the US Vice President Kamala Harris and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, warned about an impending conflict, people in Kyiv weren’t giving up on leisure.

Across the Ukrainian capital, families flocked to the parks and playgrounds on Sunday, enjoying the winter sunshine and blue skies. 

This is not a city that looks like it’s on the brink of a conflict. Under the Motherland Monument, a 102-meter tall statue of a woman with a shield and a sword that towers over the country’s war museum, children were having great fun climbing up and down the tanks on display there. 

Across the river, in Dniprovsʹkyy Park, scores of people were spending their Sunday morning running, cycling and in-line skating. Nearby, on the sandy bank of the Dnieper river, children were happily digging in the sand, watching the ducks swim by. But the sense of pride and resolve, heightened in recent months amid the growing tension, remains ever-present. 

On the world-famous Maidan square, the site of the 2014 bloody protests, huge flags are still on display following Wednesday’s Day of Unity, a national holiday spontaneously declared by the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

On a hill above the square, photographs of those who died during the protests are on permanent display.

The events of 2014 are known here as the “Revolution of Dignity” and those who died during them are referred to as the “Heavenly Hundred.” On Sunday, dozens of people gathered by the memorial wall, lighting candles, laying flowers and decorating the monument with fresh blue and yellow ribbons which are on display everywhere in the city.

Children play on the tanks that are on display outside the National Museum of the History of Ukraine in the Second World War on Sunday, Ferbruary 20.

Macron calls Putin, then Zelensky in "last-ditch effort to avert a Russian invasion"

French President Emmanuel Macron.

French President Emmanuel Macron called both his Russian and Ukrainian counterparts on Sunday morning in a “last-ditch effort to avert a Russian invasion of Ukraine,” the Élysée Palace said in a statement.

Macron spoke with Ukraine’s Volodymyr Zelensky for 30 minutes, right after a long phone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to the French presidency.

“The phone conversation with President Putin lasted 1 hour 45 minutes,” the Élysée Palace said.

The calls come a day after the French President previously spoke with Zelensky.

An Élysée Palace source had previously told CNN that Paris hoped to “construct a useful roadmap for the coming days.”

Putin "has every reason" to see Zelensky as unwilling to implement Minsk agreements, says Kremlin spokesperson

Russian President Vladimir Putin “has every reason” to see Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky as unwilling to implements the Minsk agreements, Russian presidential spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said in comments Sunday on Russian state television. 

“If we consider all Zelensky’s statements in aggregate, it follows from them that he a) cannot, b) does not want to, and c) is not going to do this,” Peskov told Russian Pavel Zarubin, host of the TV program “Moscow. Kremlin. Putin.”

Peskov also suggested the Kremlin was prepared to disclose confidential discussions of high-level talks with other world leaders to counter what he described as deliberate and misleading leaks by foreign officials. 

“I hope that we will not live in a world where we have to read out the transcripts of the closed part of the presidents’ talks,” Peskov said. “But when it is necessary to prove the correctness of our president, we can and will do anything.”