US President Joe Biden and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron discussed in their telephone conversation ongoing developments in Ukraine, a statement from the White House reported.
"President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. spoke today with President Emmanuel Macron of France to discuss Russia's war against Ukraine," the statement reads.
"They reviewed recent diplomatic engagements and underscored their commitment to hold Russia accountable for its actions and to support the government and people of Ukraine," the statement added.
The press office of the French president said in a statement earlier in the day that Biden and Macron agreed during their telephone conversation to step up sanction measures against Russia.
On February 21, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed decrees at a ceremony in the Kremlin recognizing the Donetsk People's Republic (DPR) and the Lugansk People's Republic (LPR). Putin met with DPR leader Denis Pushilin and LPR leader Leonid Pasechnik, and signed treaties with them on friendship, cooperation and mutual aid between Russia and both republics.
President Putin said in a televised address on February 24 that in response to a request from the heads of the Donbass republics, he had decided to carry out a special military operation in order to protect people "who have been suffering from abuse and genocide by the Kiev regime for eight years." The
Russian leader stressed that Moscow had no plans to occupy Ukrainian territory.
The Russian Defense Ministry reassured earlier that Russian troops are not targeting Ukrainian cities, and are limited to surgical strikes and incapacitating Ukrainian military infrastructure, insisting that there is no threat whatsoever to the civilian population.