According to a statement from the French side, Lavrov accepted Le Drian’s invitation to visit Paris on Friday for preparatory consultations in view of a forum “whose principles were accepted by our two presidents.”
The French Foreign Ministry said that President Emmanuel Macron had earlier exchanged views on the meeting with allies, and reiterated that it “will only take place if Russia does not invade Ukraine.”
Earlier, the Elysee Palace announced that United States President Joe Biden and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, had agreed to participate in the summit proposed by Macron, in a scenario of tensions stoked by Washington’s insistence on the alleged imminence of a Russian attack and on threatening it with harsh sanctions.
However, shortly afterwards Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov considered it premature to point out that there will be a summit of leaders in the coming days.
According to the French version of the eventual forum, Biden and Putin would initially take the leading roles, and the interested parties would join in a second stage.
Russia stresses that it has no interest in a conflict with its neighbor, but at the same time demands security guarantees from the West, which include a halt to NATO’s expansion towards Eastern Europe, a crusade in which Ukraine has become the new spearhead.