The German Chancellor, Olaf Scholzthe French president, Emmanuel Macronand its Polish counterpart, Andrzej Dudahave expressed this Tuesday from Berlin their “absolute unity” in the shared goal of “preserving peace” in Europe under the threat of a Russian invasion of Ukraine. This, in the opinion of the Franco-German axis, goes through dialogue with Russia.
Must be a “demanding” dialogue, Macron has clarified, one destined to avoid “all risk of an escalation”. The leaders have attended a summit in Berlin of the so-called Weimar Triangle group, formed after the end of the Cold War and in which the three countries have been addressing cooperation issues since 1991.
Within the framework of this meeting, the leaders have expressed their joint support to Ukraine against possible invasion. “Our assessment of the situation in Ukraine is identical,” Scholz said in a previous appearance.
The leaders currently hold the rotating presidencies of the European Union (EU) -on the French side-, of the G7 -on the German side- and of the OSCE -on the Polish side-, which, according to the foreign minister, has given the meeting “a special relevance”, in a “very difficult” moment.
A “committed and demanding” approach
According to the French presidency, the leaders have also agreed to support the application of the Minsk ceasefire agreement. Thus, the meeting has revealed the European convergence in a “committed and demanding” approach towards Russia.
“It is still possible to avoid a war“
For his part, the German chancellor reiterated that any attack on the Ukrainian territorial integrity will have a “blunt” response, in terms of economic and political sanctions, although without specifying their scope. In turn, Duda highlighted during the previous conversation the need to protect the integrity of Ukrainea country that, without being a member of the European Union (EU) or NATO, “needs our full support.” “It is still possible to avoid a war,” he opined.
The Polish president has assured that the current crisis on the border with Ukraine is the most difficult situation that NATO and the European Union have had to face in the last three decades: “We have an unprecedented concentration of Russian troops”. “The most important thing is unity and solidarity. We must show that we speak with one voice, that we are a community, that they cannot break us, and I think we must also show that we are not going backwards,” she stressed.
The meeting is part of the diplomatic strategy
The work meeting in Berlin is part of the diplomatic gear deployed these days and at different levels by Western leaders, in the form of parallel trips between Europe and the United States and always with an eye on Moscow.
Scholz was returning from his first trip since he became chancellor to Washington, where he heard from US President Joe Biden, phrases of unity and cohesion, but also the warning that if there is a Russian invasion of Ukraine the Nord Stream II gas pipeline will not come into operation.
The German chancellor has so far avoided giving a clear answer to the question of whether he includes said gas pipeline in the “high price” that, as he has repeatedly assured, Russia will pay in the event of a new aggression. On the part of the Berlin government, only the Foreign Minister, the green Annalena Baernock, has explicitly linked the gas pipeline with possible sanctions.
Macron, by contrast, has played the most dynamic part within the traditional Franco-German axis. His arrival in Berlin came after yesterday having starred in a media meeting with Putinwhich was followed on Tuesday by another meeting with the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskywith the aim of reactivating the so-called Normandy Format.