Home News Macron in Moscow seeks mediation on the Ukrainian crisis – Pierre Haski

Macron in Moscow seeks mediation on the Ukrainian crisis – Pierre Haski

by admin

The trip that French President Emmanuel Macron will make on February 7, first to Moscow to meet Vladimir Putin and then to Kiev, hides several pitfalls. What is worrying is not so much the possible failure of the mission, also because no one will blame Macron for trying to dampen the tension while more than one hundred thousand Russian soldiers are massed at the borders of Ukraine.

The first risk, rather, is that of the lone knight (even if the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU) gives Macron a certain legitimacy), that is to awaken the cliché of “French arrogance” that haunts the diplomacy of ‘Elisha. The second, on the other hand, is that of being able to appear “Monachese” (in reference to the Munich agreements), or to offer too many concessions in exchange for an uncertain peace.

These two contradictory criticisms emerged as soon as the visit was announced on 4 February. To defuse any trap, the Elysée reported in great detail the exchanges of the last few days. Macron spoke on the phone with all the protagonists of the crisis: in Moscow, in Kiev, in London, in Berlin, and in the office of the NATO secretary general. It’s hard to ask for more.

General distrust
But then why the suspicions? First of all because there is always an abundant dose of mistrust in a part of Europe regarding French initiatives, accused of wanting to weaken NATO for the benefit of a mythical “European sovereignty”. Most Central and Eastern European countries trust NATO (and therefore the United States) protection more than that of France or the EU.

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But Macron also feeds suspicion when he claims to believe in the goodwill of the Russian president (whom he will meet on the evening of February 7 in the Kremlin) where many in the Western camp consider him only an autocrat intent on restoring the old Soviet sphere of influence. “You have to be realistic. We do not expect unilateral gestures ”, the president of the republic declared to the Journal du Dimanche on 6 February, thus opening the way to concessions. But some critics of Macron do not accept the idea of ​​giving up anything under the threat of an invasion of Ukraine.

The Elysée takes its cue from a concept advanced by Russia in recent days, that of the “indivisibility of security” according to which the security of some cannot be obtained at the expense of others. This is what Moscow claims about NATO enlargement eastwards after the end of the Cold War, but it is a concept that evidently works both ways: Russia’s neighbors have just as many reasons to be concerned.

In the interview with the Journal du Dimanche Macron proposes the parallel between the “trauma” (his words) that the countries and peoples subjected by the USSR have suffered and “the contemporary traumas of this great people and this great nation”, or the Russia. Peaceful words that prepare the ground for the visit, but which for some are all too accommodating.

Macron has the support of Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky on his side, whom he will meet on February 8. This reduces the risk of failure, while starting a negotiation acceptable to all sides would be a great success. It would be good for Ukraine, for Europe and above all for a president who will soon be a candidate for re-election.

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(Translation by Andrea Sparacino)

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