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PARIS: French President Emmanuel Macron has convened his country’s defence and Security Council for a meeting Monday to assess the situation in Ukraine, his office said.

The gathering of the council headed by Macron and featuring a small number of key ministers, comes after the Kremlin said that Russian President Vladimir Putin would recognise the independence of Ukraine’s eastern breakaway republics.

Earlier Monday, Macron again spoke with Putin as well as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, the presidency said.

Biden asked Macron to make offer of summit to Putin

He also spoke twice with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, and conferred with European Council President Charles Michel and EU Commission head Ursula Von der Leyen.

“There will be further contacts throughout the evening,” the Elysee said.

Earlier Monday, France had announced that Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov would meet his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian in Paris Friday to lay groundwork for a mooted summit between US President Joe Biden and Putin.

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