WASHINGTON, Feb 9 — French President Emmanuel Macron’s visit to Russia brought “an element of detente” to the crisis between the West and Moscow over Ukraine, but did not amount to a “miracle,” the EU’s diplomatic chief said yesterday.

“As far as people are willing to sit at the table and talk I think that there is a hope for not going into military confrontation,” Josep Borrell told reporters at the end of a visit to Washington.

As such, Macron’s visit Monday with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin was “a positive signal” and “a good initiative,” Borrell added.

“I think it represents an element of detente.”

Russia has massed more than 100,000 troops on its border with Ukraine, prompting accusations from the United States and European nations that it is preparing an invasion.

Moscow denies plans to invade and has demanded sweeping security guarantees from Washington and the Nato alliance.

Intense diplomacy has been underway to avert war, with Borrell previously describing the situation as the most dangerous for Europe since the end of the Cold War.

After Macron met with Putin, he said he saw “concrete” solutions to the crisis and had received assurances from the Russian leader that there would be no further escalation.

But despite his optimism, Borrell said the problem “has not yet been solved.”

“The visit of President Macron to Moscow was important, but it has not produced a miracle,” he said, with no signs of Russian de-escalation.

The most important thing for Russian authorities was not Ukraine, but “the new architecture of security in Europe,” he said, adding that “they contest this architecture.”

“They put pressure on Ukraine in order to obtain sitting and talking about something that for them is important, the enlargement of Nato and the security concern they have.” — AFP