Ukraine conflict: the EU wants to have a say

As of: 12/29/2021 3:10 a.m.

Talks between the US and Russia on the Ukraine conflict are scheduled to take place on January 10th. The EU foreign affairs representative Borrell is now calling for the EU to participate. The US wants to stick to the bilateral format.

In the run-up to the planned talks between the USA and Russia on the Ukraine conflict, EU foreign affairs representative Josep Borrell has called for the European Union to participate. “We do not want and must not be an uninvolved audience, over whose heads decisions are made,” said Borrell of the “world”.

“If Moscow (…) wants to talk about the security architecture in Europe and security guarantees from January, then that is not just a matter that concerns America and Russia,” said Borrell. “The EU has to be present in these negotiations, such negotiations only make sense if they take place in close coordination with and with the participation of the EU.”

USA rely on bilateral talks

Washington has only assured the Europeans of “transparency and solidarity” in relation to the talks planned in Geneva on January 10, but no direct participation. The exchange with Russia takes place in the bilateral format of the strategic security dialogue, said the spokesman for the US State Department, Ned Price, on Tuesday.

However, Price also emphasized that the principle with regard to the allies is “Nothing about them without them.” The aim of the talks is to achieve “common goals”. In the past, the allies were “always fully and thoroughly informed”. There was agreement on a “principled diplomacy” with Russia.

Borrell rejects security guarantees for Moscow

Borrell told the “Welt” that Moscow wanted “two actors who share their spheres of influence” without involving the EU. “We won’t accept that.” Moscow’s call for security guarantees and an end to the eastward expansion of the EU and NATO was rejected by the EU diplomat as “a purely Russian agenda with completely unacceptable terms, especially with a view to Ukraine”. One cannot compromise on “fundamental principles”. The right of a state to decide on alliances itself is not negotiable.

Russian President Vladimir Putin had demanded security guarantees for his country from NATO. He wants to stop NATO’s eastward expansion and prevent Ukraine from joining, which would threaten Russia. The western military alliance has so far shown no willingness to accommodate.

US State Department spokesman Price also stated that some of the Russian proposals were unacceptable to the US and its European “allies and partners”. He assumes, however, that an open dialogue and open diplomacy could be constructive in order to de-escalate the Ukraine conflict.

Biden and Putin meeting?

The White House announced on Tuesday that representatives of the US and Russia would speak about the conflict in Ukraine on January 10th. It is not yet known whether US President Joe Biden and Russian President Putin will also meet directly. Biden replied to a relevant question: “We shall see.”

The talks between the two countries are a first sign of the easing of tension in the conflict between Russia and the West. This had previously worsened for weeks. Kiev and Western governments accused Russia of having drawn tens of thousands of soldiers on the border with Ukraine. There were fears that the Russian army might invade the neighboring country. Moscow denied any plans to attack and, in turn, accused Ukraine of provocations.

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