The leaders of the United States and several European countries including Germany and France affirmed, Monday, January 24, during a videoconference, their support ” without reservation “ to the territorial integrity of Ukraine and promised “very serious consequences” to Russia in case “aggression” against this country.
The participants “were all of the opinion that it is up to Russia to undertake visible de-escalation initiatives” in this conflict, indicated the spokesman for the German Chancellor, Olaf Scholz, at the end of this meeting in which the latter took part in particular with the leaders of the United States, France, the United Kingdom, the Italy and Poland.
The holding of this videoconference had been announced a little earlier in the day by the White House at a time when certain differences seemed to appear within the Western camp on the attitude to adopt towards Russia.
This concerns in particular Berlin, much criticized by Ukraine for its refusal in particular to deliver weapons, even defensive ones, unlike the United States, the United Kingdom or the Baltic countries.
Similarly, the countries of the European Union have not yet decreed the departure of part of their diplomatic personnel from Ukraine, while Washington and London have made announcements to this effect.
“Strong and credible warnings”
At the end of the meeting, Joe Biden assured that there was a “total unanimity with European leaders” in the Ukrainian crisis. For his part, the French president in a press release indicated that the “de-escalation must go through the expression of firm and credible warnings with regard to Russia, which requires constant coordination between European partners and allies”.
During their videoconference, which was also attended by the NATO Secretary General, Western leaders expressed their “great concern” in the face of the regrouping of Russian troops on the eastern border of Ukraine and accused Moscow of being at the origin of the “current tensions”, according to the Berlin press release.
Nevertheless, they felt that “the issue of security and stability in Europe could be resolved through negotiation”. Paris has therefore called for “a strengthened dialogue with Russia”.
Westerners have “reaffirmed to be willing to continue diplomatic efforts in this direction”, undertaken during the month of January with several meetings between Western and Russian officials. No visible success, however, so far.
The leaders notably mentioned the so-called “Normandy format” discussions, which bring together representatives of Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France. The Elysée has announced the holding of a meeting on this subject “at the level of advisers in Paris this Wednesday, January 26”. Emmanuel Macron has also planned to meet “in the next few days” with the Russian and Ukrainian presidents.