120,000 Russian troops are currently stationed on the borders of Ukraine, although Moscow says they have no intent of invading the country or starting a war. Suspicious of this defense, France’s current President Emmanuel Macron had a phone call with Russian President Vladmir Putin on January 28 to discuss means of peacefully handling this situation. Macron, who had previously talked to the German Chancellor Olaf Scholz to discuss this same issue, stated that Germany agrees that the tension surrounding this situation must diminish in order to preserve European goals and morals. More specifically, France and Germany wish to preserve the goals of The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), of which they are both a part of.
Macron claims he has been working towards the goal of a peaceful Europe for five years, as he has attempted to hold discussions with Putin in order to settle political and military conflicts. However, France’s strategy of appeasement and diplomacy has frustrated its allies in the European Union. In 2014, Russia took control of the Crimean peninsula in Ukraine and encouraged separatism in Eastern Ukraine through violent uprisings.
That being said, suspicions of Putin’s plans are not limited to the European Union—both the U.K. and the U.S. have warned their respective Ukrainian embassies to prepare for a possible invasion. In fact, American officials stated that Russia brought “supplies of blood for the wounded” to its Ukrainian border, which reinforces speculations that Russia is ready to invade the country. In response, on January 28, Putin stated that he believes the United States is not addressing Russia’s security concerns, yet he is willing to continue conversing with NATO and the USA on such topics. Putin demands that NATO does not incorporate more members and withdraw strategic weapons from the Russian border. However, the U.S. has already warned Russia that if they were to attack Ukraine, America and its allies would impose crippling economic sanctions on the Russian economy.
In Ukraine, predictions surrounding whether or not Russia will invade the country have split the citizenry; some have lived these past couple of weeks in fear of the near future, while some simply believe Russia will not invade Ukraine in any capacity. Similarly, some Ukranians believe that the Russian troops have been placed on the borders of Ukraine as a means of political distraction, while others believe that not even Putin knows what his next steps will be. With that being said, NATO’s goal is still to settle the conflict with peaceful conversation. They hope that, through persuasive discussion as well as the eventual compromise, both sides will reach an agreement preventing war in Eastern Europe.
By: Carolina Tieppo