In the next weeks, the French president and German chancellor will travel to Moscow and Kyiv to join diplomatic efforts to stop Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
France’s Emmanuel Macron will visit Moscow Monday and Kyiv Tuesday. Germany’s Olaf Scholz, on the other hand, will be traveling to Kyiv and Moscow on February 14 and 15.
China supports Russia’s demand for NATO to be restricted from expanding to Ukraine. On Thursday, the U.S. accused Russia of a sophisticated plot to invent an attack by Ukrainian forces. Russia could then use this pretext to launch military action. Moscow strongly denied the U.S. claims.
France is a major NATO player and is moving troops into Romania to prepare for Russian action. However, Macron has been active in pushing for dialogue and has spoken to Putin several times over the past weeks. According to Macron’s office, the two will meet Monday.
Macron will continue a French tradition by following a different path than the United States in geopolitics. He will also try to make his mark on this crisis and protect Europe’s interests.
Germany has stressed the importance of diplomatic formats in addressing tensions. It has also refused to send weapons or ammunition to Ukraine, which has angered some allies. Scholz has been criticised for not being more visible in the crisis.
It’s not clear how much the visits will have an impact on the situation after weeks of negotiations in different diplomatic formats that have resulted in no major concessions from Russia or the U.S. Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister, stated Friday that top-level visits “significantly reduce security challenges and disrupt the Kremlin’s plans.”
U.S. Secretary Of State Antony Blinken called Kuleba Friday about the Russian military buildup. He also discussed steps to encourage Russia to follow diplomacy over war, ensure stability and security, and reaffirmed the willingness of the U.S. to “impose swiftly and severe consequences upon Russia if it chooses not to escalate,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price stated.
Macron spoke to Joe Biden Wednesday about his diplomatic efforts. Macron’s office stated that they had discussed with the Russian and Ukrainian leaders Thursday evening ways to “identify elements which could lead to deescalation” and “conditions of strategic balance in Europe,” which should allow for the reduction and security on the continent.
Russia has amassed over 100,000 troops close to Ukraine’s eastern and northern borders. This raises concern that Moscow might invade again as it did in 2014. The uncertainty and troop presence have caused unease in Ukraine and have harmed the country’s economy.
The Kremlin denies that an invasion is planned. It has asked for guarantees from the West that Ukraine won’t join the bloc. NATO weapons will be stopped near Russian borders, and forces of the alliance will be pulled back from Eastern Europe.
China supported the demands after Putin had met with Xi Jingping, the Chinese President, in Beijing prior to the opening of the Winter Olympics. Following the talks, both leaders released a joint statement expressing their opposition to NATO expansion.
Separately to Scholz and Macron, Recep Tayyip Erdan, the Turkish President, has offered mediation between Russia and Ukraine. Erdogan visited Kyiv last week and charged Western leaders that they have not made a positive contribution to the resolution of tensions between Russia, Ukraine.
In Washington, U.S. officials claimed that a plan to attack Russian territory or Russian-speaking persons was being developed. This information was shared in classified intelligence with Ukrainian officials and European allies. This was the latest example where the Biden administration disclosed intelligence findings in an attempt to stop Russian disinformation attempts and foil what it claims is Putin’s attempt at setting the stage for military action.
Russian officials denied the allegations. Russian officials have denied the allegations. Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov spoke on Friday about the “absurdity” of the claims. Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov advised reporters not to “take anyone’s word for (especially the) State Department’s) when it comes down to these issues.”
The foreign minister of Ukraine said Friday that Washington had shared the information with Kyiv, and that this did not surprise Ukrainian authorities. “We have witnessed many insidious acts by Russia since 2014. Kuleba stated that Russia has shown no signs of stopping them fabricating things and accusing Ukraine.
The White House claims that U.S. intelligence has shown Russia launched a malicious social media disinformation campaign against Ukraine. It has also dispatched explosive-trained operatives to commit acts of sabotage against Russia’s proxy forces. Britain revealed intelligence that showed Russia plotting to establish a pro-Russian puppet government.