After a few days of hesitation over his intentions, Joe Biden tried to strike hard on Monday, January 24, in order to close the ranks of the Western camp against Russia. As the threat of an invasion of Ukraine makes his allies feverish, the American president met in the evening with the main European leaders, shortly after the Pentagon announced its decision to place 8,500 troops in state of emergency. alert, ready to be deployed on European territory as part of NATO’s rapid reaction force.
From the “situation room” of the White House, the American president joined the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the Council, Charles Michel, the French president, Emmanuel Macron, the German chancellor, Olaf Scholz, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, Polish President Andrzej Duda and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. An unprecedented format since the start of the crisis, which says a lot about the urgency of speaking with one voice, while the western front has been cracking in recent days. At the end of the meeting, everyone celebrated their unity against Vladimir Putin. According to a statement from the White House, they have “stressed their common desire for a diplomatic resolution”but also mentioned their “preparations to impose massive consequences and severe economic costs on Russia” in case of invasion.
The ridge line is narrow for Westerners, however, as the United States agreed to respond in writing to Russia this week, in an attempt to extend talks opened two weeks ago, with no breakthrough at this stage. Emmanuel Macron in the lead, the Europeans hope to influence the American response to assert their points of view, not only on Ukraine but also on continental security. All converge to reject most of the demands formulated by Russia, in particular regarding the freezing of NATO enlargement. But European capitals sometimes seem to differ on the best way to proceed in the hope of dissuading the Kremlin, whose intentions remain unclear, from attacking Ukraine again.
Baltic States and Poland on edge
On Monday morning, the announcement of the evacuation of part of the American diplomatic staff from Kiev had raised the spirits, reviving the prospect of an imminent attack on Ukraine by Russian troops massed on its borders. The UK did the same. In Kiev, the decision to evacuate the families of American and British diplomats was judged “premature” and “excessive”. There has been “no significant change in the security situation recently”Argued on Monday Oleg Nikolenko, spokesman for the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
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