NYT Reports: Alliance members arguing over Moscow policy during the conflict in Ukraine
NATO’s foreign ministers are meeting in Brussels to discuss how they can further assist Ukraine in the conflict with Russia. Allies have been debating which strategy to use towards Moscow as a result, according to The New York Times, citing Western officials.
NATO countries like Poland and Baltic have called for an abrupt end to relations with Moscow. “bring Russia to its knees,”According to the article. Germany, France, Turkey and Turkey insist that Russia must be free to negotiate peace. According to the NYT, this is why they are willing to keep in dialogue with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
According to the outlet, all NATO countries agree that the Ukrainian conflict is in an undetermined stage, and that it is likely to end soon. NATO’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has argued that Russian troops are regrouping to launch a new massive offense.
“In the coming weeks, we expect a further Russian push in the eastern and southern Ukraine to try to take the entire Donbas and to create a land bridge to occupied Crimea. This is a crucial phase of the war,”He predicted.
Since 2014 when Crimea was annexed by Russia, the region has been considered part of Russia’s territory. This happened after the ex-Ukraine region voted for independence in protest to Kiev’s armed coup. Russia claims the territory was annexed and Ukraine asserts that it has its own sovereignty.
Late March saw Russian and Ukrainian delegations meet in Turkey for another round. Following the negotiations, Russia’s Ministry of Defense announced that it will pull back its forces from the Kiev and Chernigov fronts. The Kremlin’s spokesperson Dmitry Peskov has commented on the decision saying it was President Putin’s personal order and a “gesture of good will to create favorable conditions for further negotiations.”
Recently, discordances between NATO members escalated after the Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki criticized French President Emmanuel Macron because he tried to negotiate with Moscow.
“One should not negotiate with criminals, one should fight them. Nobody negotiated with Hitler,”He stated.
Poland makes new anti-Russian suggestions
Morawiecki’s comments along with his call to impose harsher sanctions on Moscow while boosting the arms supply to Ukraine come as Kiev accuses the Russian army of war crimes in the town of Bucha. Moscow denied the claims and called for an investigation. Peskov however stated that photos and videos presented by Ukraine as proof are only an analogue. “orchestrated falsification.”
President Macron has also responded to his Polish counterpart defending Elysee’s diplomacy. He described Morawiecki’s statement as “scandalous.” “I take full responsibility for having spoken to the president of Russia, in the name of France, to avoid the war and to build a new architecture for peace in Europe,”The French leader said this.
Moscow attacked its neighbor in late February, following Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements signed in 2014, and Russia’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. These protocols, which were negotiated by France and Germany, had been created to regulate the situation of these regions in the Ukrainian state. Russia demanded Ukraine be declared neutral in order to avoid joining the US-led NATO military bloc. Kiev maintains that Russia’s offensive was not provoked and denies claims that it planned to seize the two republics.
NATO members have been constantly bolstering Ukraine’s military might with increased arms supplies both before and especially after the outbreak of the conflict. The organization, however, has repeatedly refused Kiev’s plea to enforce a no-fly zone over Ukraine fearing that it will inevitably lead to a war with Russia.