Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi plans to call Putin this week, according to Bloomberg.
The leadership of some other NATO members (Britain and almost all Eastern European countries) regards dialogue with the Kremlin as counterproductive, according to a document obtained by the agency. They believe Putin is not in the mood for a peace deal on acceptable terms. One of the sources said that Polish President Andrzej Duda at the NATO summit asked the other participants whether they really considered the negotiations on the terms proposed by Moscow to be promising and acceptable. Agreeing to such conditions would, according to Duda, mean support for Russia. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is also skeptical about Putin’s intentions, another source told the agency.
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Johnson has previously said normalizing relations with Putin would be a mistake.
Two diplomats have expressed concern to Bloomberg that Macron could persuade Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to agree to neutrality on Russia’s terms in exchange for a ceasefire. However, they stressed that Macron supports the territorial integrity of Ukraine and its sovereignty. An Elysée Palace official said Paris would not take any action without first consulting Zelensky.
After the start of the military operation in Ukraine, Putin’s contacts with Macron have become more frequent, their next telephone conversation will take place on March 29, the Elysee Palace reported.
Russia’s foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, said Russia would not initiate the establishment of relations with Western countries, but would see them emerge from the “dead end” in which they had driven themselves. He said since Putin came to power, Moscow had expressed its willingness to cooperate with the West, but “unfortunately” it did not work out. The minister called the current situation “the culmination of the course followed by the West since the early 1990s,” when it became clear that “Russia will not be obedient.”
Mykola Kobrinets, Head of the Pan-European Cooperation Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, spoke about the impossibility of a dialogue between Russia and NATO in the conditions when the countries of the bloc Ukraine provide lethal weapons, “no give a damn about international rules and their own codes of conduct. ”
Macron has announced plans to discuss with Putin the evacuation of Mariupol residents
The supply of weapons to Ukraine is another point of contention between NATO countries. Representatives from the United Kingdom, the Baltic states and most Eastern European countries have called for additional weapons, including air defense systems, to be sent to Kiev, sources familiar with the discussion said. The governments of some Western European countries believe that there should be restrictions on the types of weapons so that the situation does not get out of control. Macron opposed the supply of tanks and aircraft to Ukraine.
Volodymyr Zelensky said in an interview with The Economist that Paris is afraid of Russia and calls Boris Johnson “a leader who helps more.”
The Russian ambassador to the United States, Anatoly Antonov, called the supply of weapons and the “throwing of foreign mercenaries into the Ukrainian territory” irresponsible. Lavrov said any shipments in Ukraine that Russia considers foreign arms supplies would be targeted by Russian forces. “We are conducting an operation, the purpose of which is to eliminate any threat against Russia that comes from Ukrainian territory,” he stressed.
According to Bloomberg, the alliance also cannot decide whether restrictions on the Russian energy sector will be extended. The US has already banned the export of Russian oil and gas. The EU, according to Reuters, is discussing such a move: the Baltic countries are demanding an embargo on Russian oil.
Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak has warned of a collapse in the gas and oil markets in the event of hydrocarbons leaving Russia. Kobrinets stated that the European Union would not benefit from an energy confrontation with Russia: According to the diplomat, Moscow “has a greater security margin and stronger nerves.”
Since February 24, Russia has been conducting a special military operation in Ukraine to “demilitarize and denazify”. Kyiv severed diplomatic relations with Moscow, Zelensky instituted martial law in the country. The Russian and Ukrainian delegations held several rounds of negotiations on a settlement, the last of which ended on March 29 in Istanbul.