The United States and NATO have made two big announcements in recent hours: they have confirmed their departure from Afghanistan after two decades of war and have shown their support for Ukraine against Russia, which is deploying troops near the border. Kiev asks for help due to the noise of tanks on its border. Moscow alleges that its borders are no longer secure, while the former Soviet republics are members of NATO and, it maintains, the Western presence is behind anti-Russian movements in Ukraine – where the Kremlin has an open conflict over Donbas (the basin of the Donets), in addition to the annexation of Crimea ten years ago, among others -, or Belarus.
In his controversial visit to Moscow in February, Josep Borrell, the head of European diplomacy, protested the lack of civil and human rights in Russia, and took the rudeness of Sergei Lavrov, in addition to the expulsion of three diplomats by Moscow. Tension grew and sanctions were approved in the US and the EU against those directly responsible for the imprisonment of the opposition Navalni.RELATED
However, now the European Commission seems to hit the brakes, in the same week that the Joe Biden Administration and NATO maintain pressure on Russia and a few days after the EU ministers meet this Monday by videoconference.
This Thursday the US has imposed new sanctions on Russia, whom it accuses of interfering in the 2020 presidential elections and orchestrating a massive cyberattack by SolarWinds, in addition to imposing punishments related to Russian actions in Ukraine and Afghanistan. Biden has also announced the expulsion from the United States of ten members of the Russian diplomatic mission in Washington, including members of the intelligence services.
Two days earlier, Biden had already telephoned Russian President Vladimir Putin to address the open fronts. “President Biden expressed our concerns about the sudden increase in troops in occupied Crimea and on the borders of Ukraine, and called on Russia to ease tensions,” the White House said.
Ukraine has warned in recent weeks of the increase in the Russian military presence near its border and in Crimea, in addition to the increase in violations of the ceasefire in the Donbas, where since 2014 the Ukrainian Army and pro-Russian sectors have faced each other. Biden wanted to highlight “the strong commitment of the United States to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine,” according to his cabinet.
This Wednesday, at NATO headquarters in Brussels, the allies agreed to begin withdrawing their troops from Afghanistan on May 1 in line with what was decided by the United States, which will begin its departure that day to complete it before the 20th anniversary. of the 11S. And as NATO and Biden leave Afghanistan, they turn their gaze to Eastern Europe for the increased Russian military presence on the border with Ukraine, the largest since the annexation of Crimea. “We call on Russia to de-escalate immediately, stop its aggressive provocations and respect its international commitments,” demanded NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg: “The allies fully support the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.”
And precisely on August 24, the 30th anniversary of Ukraine’s independence from the Soviet Union will be celebrated. And the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, has declined to attend, unlike the president of the European Council, Charles Michel, who has confirmed his attendance to the president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky.
But Von der Leyen has not only done that, he initially ordered his chief of staff to reject the Ukrainian president’s invitation on his behalf, something unusual in international relations.
The spokesman for the European Commission, Eric Mamer, assured this Thursday that this letter signed by Bjiörn Seibert and unveiled by Libération It was never sent and that who will reject the invitation will be Von der Leyen herself. Seibert is also responsible for not having sent a protocol team to Ankara that could have prevented the Sofagate, in addition to the inducer of the threat to London to suspend the Northern Ireland protocol to prevent the leakage of AstraZeneca vaccines from the EU to the UK.
What Mamer has not explained, however, are the reasons why the invitation is rejected, beyond pointing out “scheduling problems” at an appointment for August 23: “We will ensure that there is the appropriate level of representation. “.