Is there a diplomatic solution to the Ukraine crisis? Emmanuel Macron meets Vladimir Putin. The Kremlin is dampening expectations in advance. The news ticker.
- The Ukraine crisis * is still waiting for a solution – according to Western information, around 100,000 Russian soldiers are near the Ukrainian border.
- Meanwhile, the second week of February begins with diplomatic efforts: Emmanuel Macron meets Vladimir Putin*.
- The Ukraine debate in Germany is apparently also being closely observed in Russia (see first report).
- This news ticker on the Ukraine crisis is continuously updated.
Moscow/Kiev – The Ukraine crisis seems to have come to a standstill: US troops arrived in Poland on Sunday, and Russia has recently repeatedly reinforced its troop formations and military equipment around the Ukrainian border. According to Western information, more than 100,000 soldiers including heavy equipment. Dramatic model calculations on the consequences of an invasion are already circulating. But now the situation must be interpreted politically – and if possible defused. The new week begins with a purely diplomatic major offensive.
Ukraine conflict: Scholz and Baerbock traveling – Kremlin dampens expectations of Macron-Putin meetings
Germany is now also heavily involved again: Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) traveled to Washington for talks with US President Joe Biden. His Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Greens) is a guest in Kiev and on the so-called contact line in eastern Ukraine. But Moscow is also busy: French President Emmanuel Macron meets his counterpart Vladimir Putin.
The Élysée emphasized that Macron’s attempt at mediation had been agreed with all partners. Scholz also referred to “agreements” on Sunday, especially in the dispute over the Nord Stream sanctions*. However, the result is open in both cases, to say the least. The USA could push Scholz to make clear threats. The Kremlin, in turn, dampened expectations of the Macron talks. The meeting was “very important,” said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Monday, according to the Interfax agency. But he also emphasized: “Of course, the situation is too complicated to expect any decisive turns in the course of a meeting.”
Emmanuel Macron* had often phoned both heads of state in the past few days to achieve de-escalation. According to the Kremlin, Putin had reiterated his demand for “long-term” security guarantees. A difficult point for the West – especially if it’s not about stationing weapons, but about the freedom of decision of Ukraine, but also of Sweden and Finland, about a possible NATO membership.
Russia eyes German Ukraine debate: “The word ‘war’ is being heard more and more often”
So the situation is complex: the military movements speak one language – verbal reassurances from both sides another. On Monday, a commentary by the newspaper, which is now close to the Kremlin, provided an insight into parts of the Russian state of mind Kommersant. “The word ‘war’ has been heard more and more in the German media in recent days, despite repeated statements by the Kremlin and the Russian Foreign Ministry that no invasion is being prepared,” it said. At the same time, the newspaper referred to German concerns about an impending loss of confidence in Chancellor Scholz* by the United States.
In fact, even NATO sees at least no signs of possible attacks on its allies’ territory. “So far we don’t see any intention: we don’t expect Russia to attack NATO territory – neither directly nor via Belarus,” Admiral Rob Bauer, chairman of NATO’s military committee, said on Monday during a visit to Lithuania, according to a report by the BNS news agency. From a military point of view, the mobilization of Russian armed forces in Belarus* should be seen as a “combination of possibilities”. Russia and Belarus want to start a joint maneuver this week, which will also take place at the EU’s external border.
Ukraine crisis: Baerbock’s state secretary is considering increasing the number of Bundeswehr troops in Lithuania
Meanwhile, Germany is also thinking of doubling the Bundeswehr contingent in neighboring Russia, Lithuania*. Foreign Minister of State Tobias Lindner (Greens) said on Deutschlandfunk on Monday that there would be up to a thousand German soldiers in the EU and NATO partner countries. A decision on increasing the quota should be made in the next few days.
Lindner pointed out on Deutschlandfunk that Russia’s increase in the contingent could not be interpreted as a serious threat. Should this happen, then “that would be propaganda,” said the Green politician. The representative from Annalena Baerbock’s Foreign Office emphasized that there had already been German contingents of 800 to 1,000 soldiers in the Baltic States in the past. Such an order of magnitude is now being discussed again. (dpa / fn / AFP) *Merkur.de is an offer from IPPEN.MEDIA.