West News Wire: Volodymyr Zelensky and Emmanuel Macron discussed ongoing tension with Russia and energy security over the phone, Kyiv announced on Friday.

Zelensky thanked his French counterpart Macron for the “timely support,” the Ukraine’s Presidency said in a statement.

Macron, for his part, drew attention to Ukraine’s balanced position towards Russian military build-up near the border with its western neighbor.

The two leaders also discussed the issue of unlocking negotiations on the conflict in Ukraine under the Normandy format and Trilateral Contact Group for a permanent resolution.

Zelensky also underlined the potential negative impacts of the Nord Stream 2, an offshore natural gas pipeline running under the Baltic Sea from Russia to Germany — bypassing Ukraine — as well as the need for Europe to diversify its energy resources.

The two leaders agreed to further discuss these matters on Dec.15 in Brussels.

Moscow has recently amassed tens of thousands of troops near Ukraine’s border. The move has prompted concerns that Russia might carry out military aggression. According to Ukrainian officials, Moscow could trigger a large-scale escalation in January.

In 2014, Moscow began to support separatist forces in eastern Ukraine against the central government, a policy that it has maintained for the past seven years.

For the second time this year, Moscow concentrated a significant number of troops in and around Ukraine last month.

The European Union has been applying restrictive measures in response to the Ukrainian crisis since 2014.

Currently, 185 people and 48 entities are on the bloc’s blacklist for violating Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.

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Separate economic sanctions on Russia’s finance, energy and defense sectors are also in place because of Moscow’s reluctance to fully implement the 2014 Minsk Protocol meant to establish peace in eastern Ukraine.​​​​​​​

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