Russia hopes for “contact” between Vladimir Putin and Joe Biden to ease tensions in Ukraine

A Ukrainian soldier was killed on Wednesday on the front line in clashes with pro-Russian separatists in the east of the country, the Ukrainian army said on Thursday (December 2nd). The death, which brings to 61 the number of Ukrainian soldiers killed since the start of the year in the east of the country, comes at the height of tensions, with Ukraine saying it fears an imminent invasion of Russia, which is accused of having massed troops at the border.

Multiple topics of tension

Moscow said it hoped for a « contact » between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his American counterpart Joe Biden. Quoted by Russian news agencies, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Riabkov explained that “This contact is really necessary, the problems are increasing”, especially in bilateral relations. “There is no mutual understanding on how to de-escalate the situation in Europe” who “Causes great concern”, he added, stressing that this situation would be “One of the main topics of discussion” between the two leaders. Mr. Riabkov did not specify what form this would take « contact ».

The subjects of tension between Washington and Moscow have multiplied in recent months, despite the desire for appeasement displayed by MM. Putin and Biden at a historic first summit in June in Geneva.

Blinken-Lavrov maintenance

During the ministerial meeting of the Organization for Cooperation and Security in Europe (OCSE), which brings together the two rival powers as well as Ukraine in the suburbs of Stockholm, the American and Russian foreign ministers had a face- tense face to face, exchanging warnings and threats about Ukraine, while ensuring that he wants to resolve the crisis through diplomacy.

“We are deeply concerned about Russia’s plans for further aggression against Ukraine”, launched the US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, alongside his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov. The US Secretary of State had previously called on Russia to ” de-escalation “ and to withdraw the recently amassed troops, according to the West, at the Ukrainian border.

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“The nightmare scenario of military confrontation” is making his return to Europe, warned Sergey Lavrov, who accused the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) of “To bring its military infrastructure closer to the Russian borders”. The Russian minister was once again opposed to any further enlargement of the Atlantic Alliance towards Eastern Europe – and therefore to Ukraine -, but he also said he wanted to give dialogue a chance. “We are interested in joint efforts for the resolution of the Ukrainian crisis”, he pleaded. “We are ready for it. “

Mr. Blinken also met in the Swedish capital his Ukrainian counterpart, Dmitro Kouleba, who reiterated his request for a “Deterrent package” for President Putin “Think twice before resorting to military force”.

Kiev and its Western allies have been worried since November about a further reinforcement of Russian troops on the borders of Ukraine and a possible winter invasion. Moscow, which has seized Crimea and is accused of supporting the separatists, has denied planning an attack. The Kremlin said on Thursday that the expressed will of the Ukrainian authorities to recover Crimea was “A direct threat addressed to Russia”. These tensions continued on the ground during diplomatic meetings.

Besides Ukraine, recent weeks have been marked by the migrant crisis at the borders of Belarus and the European Union and by a brief resurgence of clashes between Armenia and Azerbaijan – all OSCE members . EU reached agreement on new sanctions against Belarus on Wednesday, US set to follow ” very soon “, according to the US State Department.

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The World with AFP

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Russia hopes for “contact” between Vladimir Putin and Joe Biden to ease tensions in Ukraine