Two pro-Russian separatist fighters will walk near an official building in Donestsk, eastern Ukraine, on January 18, 2022 (AFP / Alexander NEMENOV)
Moscow on Thursday coldly welcomed America’s rejection of its security demands, an exchange that sparks the Russia-West crisis over Ukraine, but both camps have kept the door open for dialogue.
Among hopes, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky praised the “constructive” diplomatic exercise the day before in Paris, with Russian and Ukrainian negotiators meeting for the first time in months, under Franco-German auspices, to talk about the conflict between Kiev and pro-Russian separatists.
Unsurprisingly, the United States and NATO formally rejected important demands from Moscow on Wednesday: an end to the enlargement policy of the Atlantic Alliance and a return to deployment at the 1997 borders.
Ukrainian diplomat Dmytro Kouleba stressed that he had “no objection” to this American response.
Moscow considers that the presence of NATO in its neighborhood poses an existing threat to Ukraine ‘s growing risk. He is therefore trying to redesign Europe’s security architecture in the wake of the end of the Cold War.
“We cannot say that our views have been taken into account,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.
– Diplomatic gate? –
The head of diplomacy Sergei Lavrov also noted that there was no “positive response” to Russia’s main demand.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken during an update on the situation with Russia and Ukraine, January 26, 2022 in Washington (POOL / Brendan Smialowski)
But he left the door open for dialogue, noting that we can “expect to start a serious conversation on secondary issues”.
U.S. Foreign Minister Antony Blinken said on Wednesday that he had offered Moscow a “serious diplomatic path” to de-escalate.
In the past, Westerners cited routes such as military control measures and military transparency.
Washington again urged Moscow not to invade its neighbor, insisting on the “global risks” that this would entail.
Map of the region showing the deployment of Russian troops on the borders of Ukraine, and the military bases and installations of Russia, Ukraine and Belarus (AFP /)
About 100,000 Russian soldiers have been camping on the Ukrainian border with their armored vehicles since the end of 2021, so much so that the United States estimates that Vladimir Putin could take action “between now and mid – February”.
Russia denies any invasion plan, but considers it to be under threat of NATO expansion for 20 years as well as Western support for its Ukrainian neighbor.
Moscow has warned that denying its claims would lead to retaliation, destroying unprecedented sanctions threats that the West says it seeks to impose in the event of an attack.
Map of Europe showing the network of operational and planned gas pipelines (AFP /)
Berlin has repeatedly said that Russia would expose itself to “enormous consequences” in an aggression against its neighbor, putting the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline on the table, a controversial strategic infrastructure that Moscow is awaiting commissioning.
Russia can be satisfied with the explicit support of China, which defended Moscow’s “reasonable concerns”.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on January 9, 2022 in Colombo (AFP / ISHARA S. KODIKARA)
If the Ukrainians are aiming to join NATO, Westerners have been telling them for years that such an increase is not in the cards.
The Kremlin is demanding “legal guarantees” for ending the expansion of the Alliance, which the West refuses to do in the right name of the States to choose their allies.
A principle that Mr Lavrov opposes “the need to take into account the safety of others”.
On the streets of Kiev, Ukrainians hoped that Western diplomacy and military aid would prevent Russian invasion.
“I do not think that Russia will take action, but it is important to get support from our Western partners now, including weapons,” public procurement official Andriy Gyfrouk told AFP.
– Weapons for the separatists? –
Unloading of a plane carrying military aid equipment shipped to the United States to Ukraine, at Kiev-Boryspil airport, on January 25, 2022 (AFP / Sergei Supinsky)
Ukraine receives Western aid, even if Ukrainian authorities consider it too limited given the amount of support from Russia for 2014 separations in the east of the country.
Despite its repeated denials, this conflict seems to have been sparked by Moscow initiated after Ukraine ‘s annexation of Crimea.
In this file, little progress was made on Wednesday afternoon with the meeting in Paris between Russian and Ukrainian negotiators and Franco-German mediators who announced a new meeting for the beginning of February in Berlin.
Destroyed classroom fighting near the front line with pro-Russian separatists, January 25, 2022 in Peski, Donetsk region, Ukraine (AFP / Anatolii STEPANOV)
France praised a “good sign” of “reconnection” from Moscow, ahead of Friday’s meeting between President Emmanuel Macron and Vladimir Putin.
At the same time, however, the Kremlin party, United Russia, on Wednesday called for an armed separation in Ukraine.
On Thursday, the main representative of these separatists called for modern weapons, in particular to deal with Ukrainian drones, obtained from Turkey and said to be extremely effective.
bur-alf / ant / fio
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