European diplomacy tries to take control in the Ukraine crisis

The President of France, Emmanuel Macron, met this Monday in the Kremlin with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, to try to achieve a “de-escalation” in the tensions generated by the deployment of troops from Moscow > near the Ukrainian border.

(Read here: Ukrainians train for combat in Chernobyl ghost town)

While that approach was taking German Chancellor, Olaf Scholz, held a meeting at the White House with Democratic President Joe Biden to coordinate the strategy between Berlin and Washington b> on how to act in the event of an invasion.

(Also: Washington maintains that Russia is preparing a full invasion of Ukraine)

With the deployment of these two European Union (EU) heavyweights –known as the ‘Franco-German locomotive’–, European diplomacy mobilized this Monday to be heard and try to take charge of the crisis.

“Our continent is today in a very critical situation, which forces us to be extremely responsible,” Macron said Monday, sitting at one end of the a long white table in the Kremlin hall and several meters away from Putin.

“The discussion can start a de-escalation”, declared the French leader. According to the president, this “useful response” should “avoid war” between Russia and Ukraine and “build elements of trust, stability, visibility for the whole world.”
For his part, Putin, who welcomed the efforts French, claimed to have “the same concern” related to security in Europe.

The Kremlin spokesman, Dmitri Peskov, had indicated this Monday (before the meeting) that Macron had promised to come “with ideas with a view to a détente”, before opining that the situation was “too complex to expect decisive progress after a single meeting”.

However, the Russian president said that “some of the proposals (…) are possible to lay the foundations for future progress”, which would pave the way for future meetings.

“On our part, we will do everything possible to find compromises that satisfy everyone”, added Putin, assuring that neither of them wants a war between Russia and NATO that “does not t I would end up winning.”

Although these statements give hope, the truth is that Moscow is seeking guarantees from NATO that Ukraine will not join the group and wants the bloc to withdraw its forces from Eastern European countries.

The Westerners reject these demands and propose, to calm Russian concerns, gestures of confidence such as reciprocal visits to military installations or disarmament measures.

In the midst of this context, the head of The EU diplomat, Josep Borrell, said on Monday that Europe is going through the “most dangerous moment” for its security since the end of the Cold War, although he trusts in a “diplomatic solution”.

What did Biden and Scholz talk about?

Regarding the meeting between Biden and Scholz in Washington, both leaders assured that the United States and Germany have a “united front” in the face of the crisis.

The meeting in the Oval Office was the first between Biden and the new German chancellor, and it came at a time when NATO partners criticized Scholz for the lack of a clear line against Russia.

One of the key points at this summit had to do with the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, a joint line between Berlin and Moscow that seeks to supply a large part of Europe, a key element in European geopolitics.

By the way, Biden said on Monday that if Russia invades Ukraine “there will be no Nord Stream 2”, which would be a serious blow to both Russia and Ukraine. the energy sector.

However, when asked about it, Scholz avoided expressly confirming: “We are acting together. We are absolutely united and we will not take different steps. We will take the same steps, and they will be very, very hard for Russia, and they will understand it”, assured the German chancellor.

Both also announced that they had agreed on a package of “strong sanctions” that they will impose on Russia if it attacks Russia. Ukraine.

Tensions in Europe have skyrocketed in the last month due to the West’s claim that Russia has mobilized more than 100,000 soldiers on the border with Ukraine, which has led the Russian and US governments to get involved in harsh exchanges of statements.

Moscow has repeated on several occasions that it does not want a war with Kiev and that it does not threaten Ukraine, while Washington warns that the Russians could attack the neighboring country “at any time” .