Will Macron and Schultz’s visit succeed in defusing the Ukraine crisis?

Tension remains high, with Washington confirming that it has evidence that Moscow is planning to film a fabricated Ukrainian attack targeting the Russians, to justify its invasion of Ukraine, but Kiev is showing more restraint, and Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov considered that the risks of a “significant escalation” of the conflict remain “weak.”

Moscow believes that de-escalation of tension over Ukraine will be possible only if NATO abandons its expansionist policy in Russia’s neighboring countries. Despite their rejection of this demand, the Europeans and Americans want to continue dialogue with Moscow regarding its security concerns.

Two days ago, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson visited Ukraine, during which he stressed that any Russian invasion of Ukraine would be a disaster, pointing out that the repercussions of the crisis will reverberate on Moscow, which says that the West does not take into account its security demands.

Visits are important but

Academic specialist in international affairs, Tariq Fahmy, said that of course the visits are important and there are also continuous contacts and meetings to save the situation and defuse the crisis, but there are serious developments, part of which are related to the military exercises that Russia is conducting in Belarus, and there are military buildups, all of which represent direct messages to the United States.

Fahmy added, to “Sky News Arabia”, that “China is with Russia and Japan is with the West, and there are other powers that have followed half-solutions and semi-options, such as France and Germany, despite their acceptance of the idea of ​​deploying American forces in Eastern Europe, and there are other countries that are trying to play an important role in the crisis, such as Hungary, which It held talks and pressured Russia to stop the escalation.

He explained that this matter means that we are facing an open scenario and that the military options precede the political options at this time, as the US administration is escalating with Russia and there are anticipations for positions that may seem new, such as France and Germany, and the latter does not want a military confrontation, and there are reservations within some NATO countries, especially the new countries For Southwestern and Eastern Europe in this context.

He pointed out that the Russian military preparations and maneuvers that it is conducting at this time will be dangerous and will push towards the militarization of the crisis, pointing out that America is now planning for the aftermath of the invasion and not to prevent this crisis, and therefore Russia will invest in this situation and will deal with it significantly in light of the state of attraction imposed on all the parties.

He continued, “I think that Russia is being strengthened by China in the context of Beijing’s rejection of any military options in this region, and therefore all scenarios are open and all scenes are also included in the context of the Ukrainian crisis.”

French efforts

In an effort to reduce tension in the Ukrainian crisis, French President Emmanuel Macron will meet with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on Monday in Moscow and then Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Tuesday in Kiev, the Elysee Palace announced on Friday.

In recent days, Macron has intensified phone contacts with Putin and Zelensky, as well as with US President Joe Biden, in an effort to mediate the crisis.

On Thursday, the French president held talks by phone with Putin and Zelensky, and the Kremlin announced that Putin and Macron discussed, in particular, the “security guarantees” demanded by Moscow during their third phone call this week on this issue, referring to a “constructive” dialogue.

“France’s mission is to have a leading role in multilateral efforts aimed at de-escalation,” French government spokesman Gabriel Attal said on Friday.

He added, “This dispute has been open for several months, and many meetings have been held at the initiative of France. We have made solid progress in recent weeks, especially through a very important meeting (on January 26) with diplomatic advisors to the heads of state and government of the Normandy countries, Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France. Pointing out that this meeting lasted “about nine hours, after which (advisers) reached a joint statement, the first since December 2019 to remind the commitment to de-escalate the situation.”

Germany returns to the thorny file

German Chancellor Olaf Schulz will also visit Kiev on February 14, before moving the next day to the Russian capital to meet with Putin, and according to German government spokesman Wolfgang Buechner, “In addition to bilateral talks, international issues will focus on international issues, including security issues.”

In recent weeks, Schulz faced criticism for his lack of a politically active presence in this thorny file, while the German chancellor received on Thursday the leaders of Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia, as the three Baltic countries that are members of the European Union express security concerns in light of the Ukrainian crisis.

The meeting between Schulz and Putin is the first visit by the German chancellor to Russia since he took office last December, and Schulz is accused of adopting unstable positions on Ukraine, especially after Germany refused to deliver weapons to Kiev.

Russia responds

While he called the Kremlin not to “believe” the accusations leveled by the United States when it announced that Moscow intends to fabricate a videotape of a Ukrainian attack on Russia to use it as a pretext to invade its neighbor.

“I recommend not to believe what anyone says on these issues, especially the US State Department,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said when asked about the accusation.

And Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said Thursday, “We have information that the Russians likely want to fabricate a pretext for the invasion.”

He added that Washington believed that the Russian government was planning to stage an attack by the Ukrainian army or intelligence forces “against Russian-speaking territories or against Russian-speaking people.”

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