After meeting his Russian and Ukrainian counterparts, President Macron said he was optimistic about the possibilities of a peaceful resolution to the current crisis: Putin assured him that he would do “everything to find compromises that can satisfy everyone”. Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said it was necessary to clarify that the two men had not agreed on any de-escalation agreement, suggesting that such an agreement could only be negotiated with Joe Biden.
Putin obviously wants to sit down at the table with him. Like Washington’s allies, he does not fully understand the maximalist, sometimes incoherent, maneuvers of the Americans in this game of chess.
An “imminent” invasion that is long overdue
Since November, U.S. officials have been crying wolf: Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is imminent, a matter of days, if not hours.The Americans claimed that the Russian invasion could cause between 25,000 and 50,000 civilian casualties and up to 25,000 Ukrainian soldiers killed. The State Department advised U.S. diplomats and civilians to leave Ukraine before hostilities began. Canada has done the same. Just last Sunday, the White House national security adviser warned: “From one day to the next, Russia could take military action against Ukraine. Washington’s allies, even the Ukrainians, are working hard to tone down the Biden administration’s words. Ukraine’s foreign minister said he did not believe US “apocalyptic predictions.”
Ukrainian President Zelenskiy criticized the United States for harming his country’s economy by unduly stoking panic, saying, “This is not the Titanic here.” And one of his advisers believes that a diplomatic solution to tensions with Russia is more likely than a military conflict. The head of the German secret service said the same thing as the Ukrainians: “I believe that the decision to attack has not yet been taken.”
After claiming that the invasion was imminent, U.S. officials now say Moscow has gathered only 70 percent of the military force needed for a full-scale invasion. So the imminence of the invasion was pure rubbish?
Bullying: it’s cheap, it pays off well
Why did the US administration feel the need to panic the entire planet about the invasion of Ukraine? Could it be to divert attention from Biden’s domestic policy problems and his growing unpopularity in the polls: to show that he is capable of standing up to Putin?
In recent decades, the United States has repeatedly invaded countries to impose its political will on them. With many more catastrophic failures than successes. Others, more astute, use threats of invasion to get adversaries to accede, at least in part, to their demands. Bullying is an excellent foreign policy instrument. In general, it pays well and it costs much less than a war. We’ll see if that’s true for Putin in this case.
During his press conference on Monday with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron, the Russian president attacked Volodymyr Zelensky because the latter had been critical of elements of the peace plan in eastern Ukraine, negotiated in 2015 between Kiev and Moscow.”Whether you like it or not, my pretty will have to bear,” Putin said, in the form of a rhyme.The remark sparked a lively debate on the Russian-speaking web, some critics of Vladimir Putin, denouncing a remark legitimizing rape, while others saw it as a way to scold a child or a reference to a naughty riddle from the Soviet era.
“The (Russian) president meant that when a state agreed to take obligations, it had to stick to them,” Russian Presidency Dmitry Peskov said. Zelensky told Putin at a press conference on Tuesday: “Ukraine is pretty, it’s true, but the use (of the personal pronoun) ‘ma’ is too much.”Then he assured that his country was above all “patient”. “Patience is a virtue” in the face of Russian “provocations,” he said.
French President Emmanuel Macron, who stood by his side, once again praised the “composure” of his counterpart, as he had done the day before Vladimir Putin. The Russian head of state is used to controversial remarks. For example, he compared his critics to monkeys or noted that his number one opponent, Alexei Navalny, who accuses the Kremlin of having poisoned him, would have died if this had been the case.