Macron makes his last effort to avoid conflict in Ukraine

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PARIS, February 20. /TASS/. French President Emmanuel Macron is making his last efforts to avoid a full-scale conflict in Ukraine, a French presidential administration official told reporters after his meeting with Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky.

“The president of the republic is making his last efforts to prevent a major conflict in Ukraine,” the administration official said. “He is ready for further steps in the interest of stability and peace, and does not rule out new missions.”

However, the possibility of a “new spiral of violence” remains “high”, he added.

According to the presidential administration, Zelensky assured Macron that he “would not respond to provocations on the contact line in the Donbass”.

“Russia has gathered enough forces to invade Ukraine if it wants to,” the official said. “A military campaign against Ukraine would bring a war to the center of Europe.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin will also have a telephone conversation with Macron, the fifth since the start of the year. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the talks were scheduled for February 20. Agence France-Presse reported, citing the French presidential administration, that Macron was set to discuss the Ukrainian escalation with his Russian counterpart.

The situation along the contact line in eastern Ukraine deteriorated on the morning of 17 February. The DPR and LPR reported some of the most intensive shelling by Kyiv forces in recent months. The shelling damaged some civilian installations.

On Friday, the leaders of the Lugansk and Donetsk People’s Republics (LPR and DPR), Leonid Pasechnik and Denis Pushilin, announced the evacuation of residents of the republics to Russia, citing the growing threat of hostilities. An all-out mobilization was announced in the republics on Saturday.

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