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Russian threat: Berlin and Kiev more cautious than Washington | Ukraine: a country torn between East and West


In crisis situations, the worst is to assume or try to guess what will happen, said German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock in Munich, after a meeting of the G7 forum that her country currently chairs.

The purpose of the meeting was precisely to coordinate the Western camp against Moscow.

The day before, US President Joe Biden said to himself, for the first time, convinced that his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin had decided to invade Ukraine in the next few daysand that the multiplication of clashes aimed to create a false justification to launch the offensive.

We do not know if an attack is already decidedcommented Ms. Baerbock in a firm reframing on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference, an annual event which welcomes the elite of international leaders until Sunday.

Asked several times about the American assertions, the minister contented herself with replying: We see that there are different scenarios, that different scenarios are emerging.

We don’t think we should panicadded Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky a little later in front of an audience of diplomats and experts from around the world.

For almost three months, through regular leaks in the press and public declarations, Washington has not ceased to sound the alarm about the preparations for a Russian offensive in Ukraine.

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At the beginning of February, the head of European diplomacy Josep Borrel called for to avoid the alarmist reactions in this long-term crisis.

Washington’s fear has turned into certainty displayed in recent hours with the multiplication of violations of the ceasefire between pro-Russian separatists and Ukrainian forces who have been fighting since 2014 in eastern Ukraine.

We are convinced that President Putin has made up his mindrepeated the head of American diplomacy Antony Blinken in an interview with the German daily Süddeutsche Zeitung on Saturday.

The Secretary of State hailed a strengthened relationship with European allies and a incredibly close cooperation with Germany.

I have never experienced such a level of coordination beforeadded Mr. Blinken, who met his G7 counterparts in Munich.

While relaying this message of unity, Annalena Baerbock called for caution: Above all, we must ensure that we do not fall victim to targeted misinformation.

In this context, the free access of observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to crisis areas in Ukraine is essentialshe pointed out.

They are currently the eyes and ears of the international community. […] they are the ones who can always shine a light on what is really happening on the groundaccording to Ms. Baerbock.

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The shadow of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline

The Ukrainian president, for his part, avoided going too far on the American assertions. It is difficult for me to judge how the United States should use its intelligencehe said in Munich.

While saying grateful for the information shared by the Americans, he claimed to trust in priority to the Ukrainian intelligence services, who understand what is happening along our borders.

Mr. Zelensky had also decided to maintain his trip to Germany when Joe Biden had wondered the day before if he was wise that he is absent from his country in this context of tensions.

The more Europe and America work together, the more success we will haveargued German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Saturday.

The shadow of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which links Russia to Germany and is still awaiting certification by the German regulator, could however resurface in relations between Washington and Berlin if new sanctions were to be imposed against Russia.

The German government ended up admitting that the controversial gas pipeline would not be spared in the event of punitive measures, but refrained from specifying how this strategic infrastructure would be penalised.

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