Direct: Macron heads to Kiev as Putin says he is ready to make concessions

French President Emmanuel Macron heads to Kiev on Tuesday after offering Russia “concrete security guarantees” in a bid to dissuade Moscow from invading Ukraine as Russian President Vladimir Putin vowed to compromise in response.

Ruble hits four-week high after Putin-Macron talks The ruble touched its strongest level in nearly four weeks after last night’s talks between Macron and Putin, as investors look for signs of a de-escalation in the standoff between Moscow and the West over Ukraine.

At 7:37 am GMT, the ruble was 0.2% stronger against 75.34 dollars, and earlier touched 75.14, its strongest level since January 13. It rose 0.5% to trade at 85.87 against the euro.

Dmitriy Polevoy, chief investment officer at LokoInvest, told Reuters that the ruble would likely stay around 75-76 against the dollar so far.

“There are signs of optimism about Russia’s perception of geopolitical risks this week,” Alpha Bank said in a note, referring to Macron and Putin’s meeting and the French leader’s talks scheduled with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky later in the day.

Ukraine’s Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov said late Monday that the Ukrainian army will conduct military exercises from February 10 to February 20 in response to Russian exercises in Belarus near Ukraine’s northern border.

Reznikov told a local TV channel that Ukrainian soldiers have been constantly conducting various exercises, and that from Thursday they will start drilling for the use of Bayraktar drones, Javelin anti-tank missiles and NLAW supplied by the allies.

Johnson said that British sanctions were ready if Russia attacked Ukraine, and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that sanctions and other measures would be ready in the event of a Russian attack on Ukraine, and that his government would ask Parliament to impose sanctions on Russian individuals and companies.

Writing in The Times on Tuesday, Johnson wrote that Britain was considering deploying Royal Air Force fighters and Royal Navy warships to protect southeastern Europe.

Johnson also wrote that Secretary of State Liz Truss and Secretary of Defense Ben Wallace will be traveling to Moscow soon.

“British sanctions and other measures will be ready for any renewed Russian offensive,” Johnson wrote.

“The government will ask Parliament for new powers to sanction a wide range of Russian individuals and entities, including any company associated with the Russian state or operating in a sector of strategic importance to the Kremlin.”

Johnson said the UK was also preparing to bolster a British-led NATO combat group in Estonia.

“I welcome Germany’s statement that Nord Stream 2 will look into the event of an incursion,” he added.

Biden pledges to help find alternatives to Russian gas

Macron heads to Kiev after Putin delivers Macron’s pledge to the Ukrainian capital after Putin told him Russia would “do everything to find compromises that would suit everyone,” raising the prospect of finding a path to calm the volatile situation.

Putin said many of the proposals put forward by Macron’s talks on Monday could form the basis for moving forward in the Ukraine crisis.

“A number of his ideas and proposals … are possible as a basis for further steps,” Putin said after more than five hours of talks in the Kremlin.

He gave no details but said the two leaders would speak by phone after Macron met Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

The French president said he had made proposals for “concrete security guarantees” for Putin.

“There is no security for Europeans if there is no security for Russia,” Macron said.

Watch Macron and Putin’s statements at the press conference

Biden said he would end Nord Stream 2 if Russia invaded Ukraine US President Joe Biden said late Monday that Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline would be halted if Russia invaded Ukraine and stressed unity with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz as the West rallied to avoid war in Europe .

At a White House news conference with the new German leader, Biden, a 10-year opponent of Germany’s $11 billion pipeline project from Russia, said the transit of Russian troops into Ukraine would lead to a shutdown.

“If Russia invades, that means tanks or troops… cross the borders of Ukraine again, then there won’t be… Nord Stream 2. We, we’ll put an end to it,” Biden said.

In response to a question about how to implement the project, given that the project is under German control, Biden said: “I promise, we will be able to do it.”

Schulz said the United States and Germany have a similar approach to Ukraine, Russia and sanctions, but they did not directly confirm Nord Stream 2’s plans or publicly mention the pipes by name over the course of his day-long visit.

Watch Biden and Schulz’s statements at the press conference

Associated Press

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