(Brest) Europeans still hoped to persuade Russian President Vladimir Putin to abandon the invasion of Ukraine, but on Friday they began preparing for “severe” sanctions in order to “discour” him and assert their credibility in the face of America. ally.
Posted at 12:12 PM
The head of French diplomacy, Jean-Yves Le Drian, whose country currently chairs the European Union, reassured him during an informal meeting of EU foreign ministers on Thursday and Friday in Brest, western France.
“Sanctions are on the table. The conviction is that the risk of Russian interference in Ukraine is real and we must be ready to respond,” another minister told AFP.
He stressed that “we should not take weeks to agree, as was the case with the annexation of Crimea in 2014.”
He said that another discussion is scheduled for the official meeting of ministers on January 24 in Brussels.
Russia has amassed nearly 100,000 soldiers, tanks and artillery on Ukraine’s borders. It denies its desire to launch a military intervention.
A European leader noted that “Putin is a chess player.” “It’s unpredictable, but now is the time to act, because if he waits, Ukraine will be stronger,” he said, explaining his fears fueled by the multiplication of accidents.
The cyber attack on several government websites in Ukraine on Friday confirmed Europeans’ concerns.
“It is very worrying. A cyberattack can precede military activities,” Austrian Minister Alexander Schallenberg commented.
“It’s exactly the kind of thing we fear,” added his Swedish counterpart, Anne Linde. “We must be very firm in our response to Russia,” she insisted.
Europeans are still betting on dialogue and diplomacy.
German Minister Annalena Barbock will travel to Moscow on January 18th for talks “at all levels”. She will be in Kiev the day before, and you should attend her visit for a joint trip with Jean-Yves Le Drian before the beginning of February.
She commented on this by saying: “Diplomacy, especially in times of crisis, is distinguished by great perseverance and great patience.”
But Moscow rained goodwill on the Europeans. “I see no reason to sit at the (negotiating) table in the next few days, to meet again and start the same discussions again,” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said after the meetings. Deep differences were noted during talks in Geneva with the Americans and during the meeting of the NATO-Russia Council in Brussels.
“It seems that Russia considers that it has received an end to its requests and does not want to continue discussions,” the head of European diplomacy Josep Borrell lamented.
Moscow is asking NATO to legally and obligately pledge to relinquish the membership of Ukraine and Georgia, whose nominations the alliance has kept, and withdraw its soldiers from countries that have since become members in the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union.
Europeans fear the “New Yalta”, a bilateral agreement between Washington and Moscow on security in Europe.
Their credibility is on the line, depending on Russian gas and their economic ties with Russia, they have always been reluctant to follow the United States into the confrontation with that country.
In Brest, they did not cease to praise the “absolutely perfect” coordination with the Americans. The Russians tried to divide us to act as if the European Union did not exist. Josep Borrell emphasized that the Americans did not play the game.
But Europeans struggle to follow Washington on sanctions options for fear of retaliation.
Energy, Finance, Technologies and Targeted Sanctions Against the Russian President: The scope proposed by the United States is broad and divided, especially in Germany, where the Social Democratic Party has refused to use the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline as leverage. Counsellor Olaf Schultz.
The minister, who was consulted by AFP, admitted that “the credibility of the Europeans is at stake regarding their ability to adopt severe sanctions.”
“What matters is deterrence, being credible about what will be decided if Russia engages in a new intervention in Ukraine,” explained a diplomat involved in the discussions.
“But what a failure of deterrence if we have to implement it,” the minister said. This means that we failed to avoid conflict.”
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