Faced with Vladimir Putin, the concerns of Europeans

Faced with Russian demands, NATO’s foreign ministers must try to consult, Friday, January 7, during a videoconference announced in haste. Phone calls, virtual conferences, meetings at all levels: the United States has undertaken to consult its European allies before entering into very uncertain discussions with Russia, Sunday January 9 and Monday January 10, in Geneva. Since the beginning of December, contacts between Washington, Brussels and the European capitals have multiplied before and after the two remote conversations between the American president, Joe Biden, and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Poutin. But nothing helps: Europeans are enraged at being kept away from future negotiations and are worried about the outcome of a process put in place under pressure from the Kremlin, while more than 100,000 soldiers Russians would remain massed near the Ukrainian border.

Read also Article reserved for our subscribers “In Ukraine, Iran and off Taiwan, the possibility of war in 2022”

First cause for concern: Vladimir Putin’s insistence on keeping the continent’s leaders away from negotiations when it comes to discussing the fate of Ukraine, and more broadly the security of the continent. The Russian president insisted on speaking to Joe Biden, believing that the Europeans were not in control of their destiny. “Biden has managed to appear as a credible interlocutor with Putin, which worries the Europeans, because it only emphasizes that they are neither serious nor relevant in the eyes of the Russian president”, judges a European diplomat.

“This bilateral format was imposed by Putin, hence the Americans’ concern to consult their European partners, observes Alexandra de Hoop Scheffer, director of the office of the German Marshall Fund in Paris. It is clear that the Russian president is seeking to divide the transatlantic community. “ For her, Joe Biden is trying for his part to learn the lessons of the precipitous withdrawal of American forces from Afghanistan, in the summer of 2021, carried out without much consultation with the member countries of NATO. As proof, the entire diplomatic sequence to come is built, at the request of the West, to integrate European concerns as much as possible: after the properly bilateral talks in Geneva, negotiations must continue on Wednesday January 12 in Brussels in a broader framework. , during a NATO-Russia council. They will continue the next day within the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). With, therefore, the participation of European states in these two forums.

You have 74.4% of this article to read. The rest is for subscribers only.