Correspondent in Moscow – Correspondent in Washington
To stop the escalation of tension in Ukraine, the President of France, Emmanuel Macron, and the chancellor of Germany, Olaf Scholz, have traveled this Monday to Moscow and Washington, where they have held meetings with their counterparts, the president of the United States, Joe Biden, and the president of Russia, Vladimir Putin. These meetings symbolize the European struggle to resolve the conflict, which directly threatens the continent, through negotiations with two key interlocutors to achieve its end.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron have already more than three hours meeting in the Kremlin trying to unravel the Ukrainian crisis. The meeting is being cordial, the two leaders, sitting at a table more than five meters long to avoid contagion, exchanged familiarity with each other and recalled that Macron’s current visit to Russia takes place on the day that marks the 30th anniversary of the signing of a great bilateral agreement after the disintegration of the Soviet Union.
Paris then recognized that Russia is the successor to the USSR.
As soon as the meeting began, the first thing Macron said to Putin today is that he trusts in “the beginning of a de-escalation” in Ukraine, in “starting to build a collectively useful answer for Russia and for all the rest of Europe» that averts the danger of a war and establishes «elements of trust, stability, predictability for the whole world».
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 issue of Ukraine and the dialogue with Russia on de-escalation and the search for political conditions that allow overcoming crises. «We must move forward on the basis of the Minsk Agreements and resume the difficult dialogue that requires progress on both sides. In this way we will be able to avoid the increase of tensions in Europe,” Macron stressed.
Washington calls for firmness
For his part, the president of the United States, Joe Biden, pressured the new German chancellor on Monday to show greater firmness andn the joint warnings of the European partners to Russia before the possible invasion of Ukraine. Above all, the president of the United States urgently needs to agree on harsh sanctions against Putin and his partners in the event of war. This is Olaf Scholz’s first visit to the White House, and it comes against the backdrop of what the German ambassador to Washington herself described in a confidential cable sent to Berlin last month as a widespread feeling in the US capital that ” Germany is not to be trusted.
Biden received Scholz in the Oval Office for a bilateral meeting, and, before the media, he said what he expects. “It’s obvious, but Germany is one of America’s closest partners, and we work in unison” to “dissuade Russia from aggression in Europe”. For his part, Scholz agreed, declaring himself ready to “fight against Russian aggression in the Ukraine.”
Hours before this visit, the German Defense Minister, Christine Lambrecht, announced that the German army is going to increase its presence in Lithuania with 350 soldiers. «We are strengthening our contribution to NATO’s eastern flank and we are sending a clear signal of determination to our Alliance partners,” said Minister Lambrecht during a visit to the Münster military training camp, Rosalía Sánchez reports from Berlin. Around 500 German soldiers are already in Lithuania, a country that borders Kaliningrad and Belarus and has been a NATO member since 2004. Germany also regularly participates in NATO airspace surveillance in the Baltic states and in Romania. Last week, Biden authorized the deployment of 3,000 US troops to Germany, Poland and Romania.