Britain is worried about the continued phone calls between Emmanuel Macron and the Russian President since the outbreak of conflict. While publicly ministers have said they are supportive of the conversations, behind closed doors there is concern about what the outcome of such calls could lead to.
The Foreign Secretary fears a repeat of the last time Russia invaded Ukraine in 2014, when it annexed Crimea.
On that occasion, Russia and the West drew up the Minsk agreement that implemented a ceasefire and recognised Ukraine’s borders, with France and Germany taking a leading role in the talks.
Putin’s invasion last month was a complete breakdown of the deal struck in 2015.
While peace talks are currently taking place between Kiyv and Moscow, Ms Truss has warned they are a “smokescreen” while more “appalling atrocities” are committed by Russia.
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Moscow wants Ukraine to promise not to join NATO or the EU among terms of the agreement, while Kiyv is demanding a full withdrawal of Russian troops.
The Kremlin dashed hopes of an imminent agreement last night, saying there could be no meeting between Putin and President Volodymyr Zelensky until Ukraine “did its homework on the negotiations and agreed their results”.
Meanwhile, President Zelensky pledged to put any agreed deal with Russia to a referendum.
He said: “When you talk about certain changes, potentially historic changes it will go to a referendum.
“Our people will have a say and give an answer to formats of compromises.”
A UK Government source last night warned any deal must have the consent of the Ukrainian people, amid concerns France and Germany could try to broker an agreement to backed by Kiyv.
“There’s no easy way out of this,” they said.
“Ukraine has to be involved in these conversations. You can’t be a third party in that.
“We need to be very careful to put Ukraine’s interests first.”