October 4, 2022

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Five-way summit between the United States and the Group of the Big Four: Allies are divided, Schultz opens to reducing sanctions

There is a dilemma that plagues the allies. It only forms while you are in Istanbul real negotiations Between Russia and Ukraine seems to be taking off. Take it to the table of the Western powers Joe Bidencalling leaders United kingdomAnd the FranceAnd the Germany And the Italia. With a logic that can be summarized as follows, which soon spread to the top of European diplomacy: “Putin needs to sell his people a victory. It is unlikely that this will be something we can accept.” The fear is that the tsar intends to impose his hand on his position Crimea And the Donbass. It is not satisfied with an agreement on a “special autonomy” that appears to the world as a cruel defeat for Moscow’s ambitions. In short, it is feared that he is preparing for the May 9 Parade – which annually celebrates the victory over the Nazis – to announce something Zelensky will not be able to digest.

be clear, A lot is moving on the eastern front. Under supervision ErdoganFor the first time, the Aggressors openly admit that they are willing to make some sacrifices. The Russians are clearing the schedule for the concept of “de-Nazification” and are largely open to accepting a path that would – albeit not in a short time – lead Kyiv toEuropean Union.

Ukrainians clearly say that they will not join the Boy It is open to the option of protracted negotiations between the two disputed Russian-speaking regions. Zelensky’s chief negotiator goes further, postulating a mechanism that would lead a potential intervention force made up of international guarantors – the 10 countries, including Italy, under the auspices of the United Nations – to intervene with arms and soldiers in the event of Russian aggression, and at the same time shut down Ukraine’s skies.

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Positive signs, a negotiating basis that should not be underestimated. However, suspicion prevails among the allies for the time being. Slightly because Washington continues to prefer to drain Putin and seems directed not to ratify a deal too soon, fearing that the message of impunity will pass with regard to Moscow’s expansionist goals. A little because the tsar Continue alternating promises and bombs. The US Secretary of State says that Anthony Blinkenand pointing to the space between Putin’s “words” and “what he’s doing”: “I don’t see real seriousness,” that’s the summary.

It is the diplomatic translation of Biden’s arguments. For the President of the United States, the Russian leader’s investment in the war has been enormous – so he reminds partners – and so the fear is that he will not agree to end the game with a massive capitulation, albeit disguised as a victory to sell to public opinion. Russian. At this point, you experience an impact on Crimea, Donbass and OdessaHow will Westerners react?

It’s actually the problem. The invitation to the “Quint” format becomes an opportunity to think about what needs to be done today to avoid facing this scenario tomorrow. Opinions differ on this particular section. Joe Biden Urges to intensify the flow of weapons to the Ukrainian army. He urges allies not to drop an inch of sanctions and to avoid “relaxing” over the overly tough stance that has stifled Moscow’s offensive plans. When it comes back to Boris Johnson, the concepts become clearer: “We have to be tough on the response.” Hence: weapons, many weapons, and “penalties, penalties, penalties.”

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However, this is not the German position. Olaf Schulze Fears that the gas crisis will slow the German recovery. For this reason, he asks for de-escalation to be evaluated on top of the punitive measures already adopted: if Putin follows words with facts – this is the logic of his logic – the West should consider giving something to mitigate it. her fist. A sign of weakness for London and Washington.

It is not the French position. Emmanuel Macron He has less urgency to contain the energy crisis, thanks to nuclear power. He appears committed to pursuing the humanitarian corridor of Mariupol in these hours – even if there are currently no results.

As for the Mario DraghiThe approach is clear: on the part of Ukraine, which is not hostile to sanctions, is pushing for the search for a “cease-fire”. And this means not so much a negotiating position, on the contrary: it is a way of asking Putin to show sincere respect for commitments, as well as useful action to reduce the humanitarian catastrophe. He can talk about it already today on the phone with the Russian leader, if the two diplomats can provide the final details for making contact.

Moreover, the prime minister’s visit to Berlin could soon become official, for the first time face-to-face in Germany with Schulz.