Le worst, soon to be avoided? All the lights would be green, the Kremlin like the Westerners reporting positive signals. At the center of this crisis, Ukraine, which firmly believes in it and declared on Wednesday February 9 that there were “real chances” of de-escalation. “Today, there are real chances for a diplomatic settlement”, welcomed in Kiev the head of Ukrainian diplomacy Dmytro Kouleba, for whom the situation remains “tense but under control”. The threats of “unprecedented” sanctions in the event of an attack on Ukraine by Russia, as well as the dialogue carried out in recent days could remove the specter of a war in Europe, wants to believe the Ukrainian government.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz also showed optimism by hailing Wednesday the “progress” born of the resumption of intense diplomatic exchanges between Russia and the West. “The mission is to ensure security in Europe, and I believe that we will succeed,” added the German leader in Berlin.
“There have been positive signals about Ukraine’s decision to act solely on the basis of the Minsk agreements, that’s a plus,” said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, referring to the agreements signed in 2014 and 2015 by Kiev and the separatists under the aegis of Paris, Berlin and Moscow, aimed at ending the conflict in eastern Ukraine. “But we haven’t heard from (Ukrainian) President Volodymyr Zelensky saying he’s ready to deal with it soon,” he said.
After a long face-to-face with Vladimir Putin on Monday, French President Emmanuel Macron assured that he had received guarantees from the Russian president so that there would be no additional “escalation”. Russia is preparing to receive the head of British diplomacy Liz Truss, for a two-day trip. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is going to Poland, where Britain intends to deploy additional soldiers. It is in this context that Olaf Scholz is also stepping up his involvement, in response to criticism in recent weeks of his discretion and supposed complacency towards Moscow.
After the head of the Danish government Mette Frederiksen on Wednesday, Angela Merkel’s successor will receive the leaders of the Baltic countries, neighbors of a worrying Russia, on Thursday. Despite the announcement of the dispatch of 350 additional German soldiers to Lithuania as part of a NATO mission, Berlin’s reluctance over Estonia’s delivery of German weapons to Kiev has created tensions in recent years. weeks. After his visit to Washington on Monday, intended to reassure the Americans, then the meeting in Berlin on Tuesday of the Weimar Triangle, formed with France and Poland, Olaf Scholz is walking on a thread, between the expectations of his Western partners and the dependence of Germany to Russian gas.
“worrying” level of gas
Germany’s gas reserves have also fallen to a “worrying” level, below the critical threshold of 40%, the government announced on Wednesday. The high point of this diplomatic activity: a long-awaited visit on February 15 by Olaf Scholz to Vladimir Putin, the first since his election as chancellor in early December. The shadow of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which links Russia and Germany and is still awaiting certification, continues to hang over relations between the two countries.
The German Chancellor thus assured a group of American senators that the gas pipeline “would not go ahead” if Russia invaded Ukraine, reported an elected official after the meeting. On Wednesday, Olaf Scholz, whose Social Democratic Party supports this pharaonic project and whose mentor, ex-Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, is a candidate for the board of directors of the Russian gas giant Gazprom, was more evasive in front of the press. . The strategy of the West consists, according to him, of not “revealing the whole range” of possible sanctions.
Emmanuel Macron, whose country currently chairs the Council of the European Union, assured on Tuesday that he had obtained “a double commitment” from Ukraine and Russia to respect the Minsk agreements, saying he believed in “concrete practical solutions” to achieve de-escalation. An unknown remains, however, as to the real intentions of Vladimir Putin, who did not say a word on Monday of the tens of thousands of Russian soldiers massed on the borders of Ukraine.