Monday, October 3, 2022
HomeGlobalPutin meditates on the "de-escalation" in Ukraine that Macron asks of him

Putin meditates on the “de-escalation” in Ukraine that Macron asks of him

The meeting is being cordial, with the two leaders sitting at a table more than five meters long to avoid contagion. / AFP

Crisis in Ukraine

In the opinion of the French president, “there will be no security or stability if the Europeans cannot defend themselves, but also if they are not capable of finding a common solution with all their neighbors, including the Russians”

There could be no “de-escalation” for now in eastern Ukraine and Russian troops will continue to be deployed along the border. But the French president, Emmanuel Macron, expected this Monday from his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, a positive response in this regard during a marathon meeting in the Kremlin, sitting at a table of more than five meters to avoid contagion.

The meeting began in a cordial way, the two leaders were on a first-name basis and recalled that Macron’s current visit to Russia takes place on the 30th anniversary of the signing of a major bilateral agreement after the disintegration of the Soviet Union. Paris then recognized that Russia is the successor to the USSR. But this Monday a tangible result on the current crisis was delayed.

As soon as the talks began, the first thing Macron said to Putin is that he trusts in “the beginning of a de-escalation” in Ukraine, in “starting to build a useful response collectively for Russia and for the rest of Europe” that avert the danger of war and establish “elements of trust, stability, predictability for everyone.”

Biden convinces Scholz to join the sanctions against Russia

In the opinion of the French president, “there will be no security or stability if the Europeans cannot defend themselves, but also if they are not capable of finding a common solution with all their neighbours, including the Russians. My priority now is the Ukraine issue and the dialogue with Russia on de-escalation and the search for political conditions that will allow us to overcome the crisis.” “We must advance on the basis of the Minsk Agreements and resume the difficult dialogue that requires progress from both parties. In this way we will be able to avoid the increase of tensions in Europe,” Macron stressed.

Before the start of the meeting, Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov stressed the “importance” of this interview, but warned that progress is unlikely. “The situation is too complex to expect decisive breakthroughs after a single meeting,” Peskov said. In his words, a fundamental issue, linked to the Ukrainian crisis, is the “security guarantees” that Moscow demands from the West as a precondition for an eventual normalization of relations. And they consist of a withdrawal of NATO in Eastern Europe and the total veto that Ukraine may one day be part of the Alliance.

Putin and Macron already discussed this problem in the telephone conversation they had on January 28, and the former told him that “the responses of the United States and NATO did not take into account the fundamental concerns of Russia.” “The key question was ignored, that is, how the United States and its allies plan to implement the OSCE principle that no one should strengthen their security to the detriment of the security of other countries,” the Russian Presidency declared at the time.

The diplomatic efforts deployed by numerous European and American officials and the pressure exerted on the Kremlin aim not only to avert the danger of a Russian military intervention in Ukraine, but also to open a path that will allow a definitive solution to be found to the problem of territorial integrity. Ukraine, which was violated in 2014 with the annexation of Crimea and Moscow’s aid to the rebel republics of Donetsk and Lugansk (Donbass).

That path is none other than the Minsk agreements of February 2015, which were reached within the so-called Normandy Group or Quartet (Germany, France, Russia and Ukraine), a format created in June 2014 on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the landing ally in World War II.

Macron and Putin also spoke about all this by phone on January 28 and Putin insisted to his French colleague that “the Minsk package of measures establishes that direct dialogue must be maintained with Donetsk and Lugansk and legalize a special autonomous status for Donbass », aspects in which the Ukrainian authorities see precisely the trap, since a dialogue without delimiting the powers that must be transferred condemns any agreement effort to failure. Attempts to satisfy the separatists can drag on without success.

Days before, on January 26, the emissaries of the four countries of the Normandy Group, Jens Plötner (Germany), Emmanuel Bonne (France), Dmitri Kózak (Russia) and Andriy Yermak (Ukraine) held a meeting in Paris with the intention to pave the way for a compromise on the part of Moscow that will allow the implementation of the Minsk agreements in a way more acceptable to Kiev. That is, without being completely left to the whims of the Donetsk and Luhansk separatists.

The next day, according to a press release released by the Kremlin press service, Putin referred to the meeting of emissaries in Paris, saying that “it confirmed a favorable mood for Russia and France to continue working in this format.” yes

But Macron wants to go further and repeat a meeting with these same representatives in Berlin in the near future. The objective is to later convene a summit of leaders of the Normandy Quartet like the one held in Paris in December 2019, but more fruitful because only a partial prisoner exchange was agreed upon. The United States could also participate in it and the main problem to be dealt with would be the interpretation of the Minsk agreements. The Russian representative in the negotiations in Paris on Wednesday, Dmitri Kózak, acknowledged that “there are different interpretations.”

The last summit of the Normandy Group was the one held in Paris just over two years ago. The then German chancellor, Angela Merkel, Macron, Putin and the Ukrainian leader, Volodímir Zelenski, participated. From that moment on, the Russian president was reluctant to repeat a meeting in the same format, something that his French counterpart hopes to achieve again now.

Macron, who will be in Kiev tomorrow to meet Zelensky, has held telephone conversations in recent days with his American counterpart, Joe Biden, with the British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, and with the NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg, to in order to coordinate a common position of the West towards Russia.

The Ukrainian issue was also addressed on Monday by Biden and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who in turn will hold a trilateral meeting today with Macron and Polish President Andrzej Duda. On Thursday, UK Foreign Minister Liz Truss will also be in Moscow.

Diplomacy does not stop in Kiev either

The German Foreign Minister, Annalena Baerbock, held a meeting on Monday with her Ukrainian counterpart, Dmitro Kuleba, in a new mission to support Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Baerbock will also go to Donbass to check the situation on the ground. Her trip occurs on the same day that German Chancellor Olaf Scholz visits Washington to be received by President Joe Biden.

This Monday, the foreign ministers of Austria, Slovakia and the Czech Republic, Alexander Schallenberg, Ivan Korcok and Jan Lipavsky, were also in Ukraine. The three reached the part of Lugansk controlled by the Ukrainian troops. After passing through Moscow, President Emmanuel Macron will also arrive in Kiev on Tuesday.


Recent posts