Diplomatic Briefing

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Newsline: Diplomatic talks aim to de-escalate standoff on Ukraine’s border

Western nations look for diplomatic avenues to ease the crisis around Ukraine. US President Joe Biden is expected to speak Friday with European and NATO leaders about Russia’s buildup of troops near Ukraine, according to a person familiar with the plans. Biden spoke Wednesday with Emmanuel Macron about the French President’s diplomatic efforts in Moscow — after which the Kremlin poured cold water on reports that the two leaders had agreed to de-escalate the tense standoff on Ukraine’s border. Press secretary Jen Psaki said she expected Biden “will speak with a number of other European counterparts as the week proceeds.” (https://edition.cnn.com/2022/02/10/europe/ukraine-russia-news-thursday-military-exercises-intl/index.html) French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said in an interview Thursday that a further round of talks between the countries in the so-called Normandy Format would be a “good sign.” The Normandy Format is a four-way conversation between representatives from Ukraine, Russia, Germany and France that has been trying to broker peace in eastern Ukraine since 2014. Talk has turned to the Minsk Agreement, which was hammered out during talks in 2015 but never fully implemented, as a possible way out of the current crisis. Advisers from all four countries are due to meet Thursday in Berlin to discuss tensions around Ukraine.

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