The market optimism, sparked by the late Sunday reports that French President Emmanuel Macron had convinced President Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin to meet at a summit to discuss the security situation in Ukraine, evaporated after early on Monday the Kremlin said there are "no concrete plans yet" to hold the summit.
An official statement from the Elysee had said Sunday that "Biden and Putin have both accepted the principle of such a summit" but in a follow-up conference call with reporters Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Poeskov cited the lack of final decision from the Russian side. Shortly after 3am ET, Peskov said that "It's premature to talk about any specific plans for organizing any kind of summits." However Macron in Putin are still in continuing contact over the prospect, even as sporadic fighting and intensifying shelling continues along the frontline between Ukrainian national forces and pro-Russian separatists in the Donbas.
The White House for its part had said Biden agrees to hold the summit with Putin the key condition that there's no invasion of Ukraine. Likely there will be a clearer picture or confirmation from the Moscow side after Putin oversees a special meeting of Russia's Security Council, according to Bloomberg.
While the prior Sunday signs of a diplomatic thaw saw US equity futures jump 55 points on initial news of the upcoming summit, Nasdaq futures are flat after their short-lived advance, with Stoxx Europe 600 erasing the earlier gains. Further, Russian stocks slumped to their lowest level intraday since Jan. 27 after the hoped-for Biden-Putin summit proved premature, plummeting by over 7% Monday.
On Monday morning Macron and Putin held a second phone call over Ukraine and plans for the potential Biden summit.
"A telephone conversation between the leaders of Russia and France, the second in one day, was initiated by President Macron at about 1:00 am," he said. "The presidents continued to discuss the situation around Ukraine," the Kremlin confirmed via TASS state news agency.
— Michael A. Horowitz (@michaelh992) February 21, 2022
"They focused on the need to maintain dialogue involving the foreign ministries and political advisors [within the Normandy Four group consisting of Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine]," the Kremlin spokesman emphasized. "Contacts between the Russian and French foreign ministers are possible in the near future," the statement added.
Meanwhile things continue to intensify on the ground in eastern Ukraine, with the latest outrage including Russia condemning Ukrainian shells falling on its sovereign territory, reportedly involving a mortar shell destroying a Russian border checkpoint near Rostov – something which Ukraine's military denied doing.
Ukrainian Border Guards say they haven't received any notice from the Russian side of this alleged cross-border shelling, which would normally be the first step after an incident like this… https://t.co/D72EOItC33
— Mark MacKinnon (@markmackinnon) February 21, 2022
Ukraine's military responded to the serious allegation by saying it's not firing in that direction, further as there appears to be little in the way of confirmation of the severe escalatory incident at this point.