Russia sends positive signals. But neither NATO nor the EU end up trusting. And, given the suspicion of the evolution of events, the heads of state and government of the 27 EU countries will meet this Thursday at 12:30 for an informal emergency European Council on the crisis with Russia as an appetizer to the summit EU-African Union on February 17 and 18.
The emergency meeting comes hours after the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, has insisted on saying that he has no planned invasion of Ukraine, and after his conversations with the Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, have been broadcast, in which the head of Russian diplomacy encouraged the head of the Kremlin to persevere through diplomatic channels in the face of “hysteria in the West”.
The Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Maria Zajárova, stated on her Telegram channel: “I ask the US and UK disinformation media, such as Bloomberg, The New York Times, The Sun and others, to publish the schedule of our ‘invasions’ for next year so I can plan my vacation. The media echoed American and British sources that indicated the invasion for these days, something that has not happened.
However, the Secretary General of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, insisted this Wednesday morning upon his arrival at the meeting of Alliance Defense Ministers in showing distrust of the messages issued by the Kremlin: “I think that the message and the The signs we heard from Moscow yesterday give reason for cautious optimism. At the same time, we have not seen any withdrawal of Russian forces. That contradicts the message of real diplomatic efforts. So far, there is no de-escalation.”
“Now there are two different futures ahead”, said this Wednesday in the European Parliament the president of the Community Executive, Ursula von der Leyen: “In one, the Kremlin decides to wage war against Ukraine, with enormous human costs, something that we thought left behind after the tragedies of the 20th century. Relations with Moscow would be severely damaged. Harsh sanctions would come into force, with dire consequences for the Russian economy and its prospects for modernization. But another future is possible. A future in which that Russia and Europe cooperate on their shared interests. Now it is up to the Kremlin to decide. Whichever path they decide to take, we will stand firm.”
The head of European diplomacy, Josep Borrell, said for his part before the plenary session in Strasbourg: “What happens in Ukraine will mark the future of humanity. All human beings should be concerned about what happens there, because if again the law of the strongest is imposed and one country can threaten another and can attack it and disaggregate it territorially, we will go back in history. We are willing to continue the negotiations, the talks, to seek a diplomatic solution to the worst crisis that Europe is experiencing since the end of the Cold War. This crisis affects not only Ukrainians, not only Europeans, it affects humanity.”
In this context comes the urgent call for the meeting of leaders this Thursday in Brussels. “So far, we have not seen any Russian de-escalation,” Stoltenberg insisted on Wednesday: “But of course we are closely following what they are doing. And if they really start to withdraw forces, we will appreciate it. But it remains to be seen. Always They have moved forces from one side to another. So, that we see movements of forces does not confirm a real withdrawal. Russia retains [en la zona] the capacity for a full-fledged invasion of Ukraine.
The British Defense Minister, Ben Wallace, has also warned that the United Kingdom has not seen “proof” of a withdrawal of Russian troops so far, reports Efe: “In fact, we have seen a continued growth of resources such as field hospitals and strategic weapons systems. We will judge Russia by its actions and until we see a proper de-escalation I think we should all remain cautious about the Kremlin’s course.”
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken also assured that there is no “significant withdrawal” of Russian military forces on the border with Ukraine. “Unfortunately, there is a difference between what Russia says and what it does, and what we are seeing is not a significant withdrawal,” the head of US diplomacy told ABC, Efe collects.