Ukrainian crisis, divisions on the western front

The Pentagon and the US Congress now take it for granted that Russia “will do something” in Ukraine. European governments are pressing to keep dialogue with Moscow open

from our correspondent
WASHINGTON – At the end of the videoconference with the leaders of the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, as well as with the leaders of the European Union and NATO, Joe Biden told reporters that he had found “Full unanimity of purpose”. All the participants agreed on the general scheme: if Russia invades Ukraine, the answer this time will have to be very hard. There are, however, also some distinctions. The Pentagon now assumes that Vladimir Putin “will do something”, as Biden himself revealed in last week’s press conference. It is also the majority opinion in the United States Congress: it is only a matter of time, perhaps the Russian leader will really wait for the conclusion of the Winter Olympics in Beijing (February 20), but there is no room for other diplomatic initiatives.

The European governments, on the other hand, are pressing for “the channel of dialogue with Moscow to remain open”, as they did know from Palazzo Chigi. This approach is shared by French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Mario Draghi. Not a little. Other EU states, on the other hand, seem closer to the analysis of American generals. These include Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Denmark, Poland and, surprisingly, Spain led by the socialist Pedro Sanchez. The United Kingdom of Boris Johnson must be added to the lineup. In Washington, the State Department, if only by its nature, continues to seek a diplomatic way out. The hypothesis of a Biden-Putin summit remains standing, even if in the last few hours it seems to have lost altitude. Margins are shrinking rapidly. Biden will have to make a difficult decision soon.

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