Russia accepts what the EU has to offer and settles to negotiate with Ukraine

Italy, Milan, 10th Asia/Europe Summit (ASEM), 17/10/2014. Round table: Angela Merkel, German Federal Chancellor, Petro Poroshenko, President of Ukraine, Matteo Renzi, Italian Prime Minister and President in office of the Council of the EU, Vladimir Putin, President of Russia, François Hollande, President of the French Republic, David Cameron, British Prime Minister, and José Manuel Barroso (in an anti-clockwise direction). (EC Audiovisual Services, 17/10/2014).

Italy, Milan, 10th Asia/Europe Summit (ASEM), 17/10/2014. Round table: Angela Merkel, German Federal Chancellor, Petro Poroshenko, President of Ukraine, Matteo Renzi, Italian Prime Minister and President in office of the Council of the EU, Vladimir Putin, President of Russia, François Hollande, President of the French Republic, David Cameron, British Prime Minister, and José Manuel Barroso (in an anti-clockwise direction). (EC Audiovisual Services, 17/10/2014).

This time the Europeans did it without the Americans in Ukraine. They managed to convince Russia to guarantee unobstructed natural gas supplies for the war-torn country and the EU for ‘at least’ during this winter. They did it last Friday in Milan, northern Italy, during the EU-Asia leaders meeting. The German Chancellor Angela Merkel took the initiative. In the morning she spoke on behalf of the entire Union and strongly reprimanded the Russian President Vladimir Putin over his tactics in Ukraine, in front of other leaders. At the end of the day though, she had convinced him to change course. Let’s see how she did it.

As the international news agencies reported, late at night the Russian leader stated that adequate natural gas supplies will be delivered to Ukraine and the EU “at least for the winter”. Obviously, this was not only a clear consent to resume natural gas deliveries to Ukraine that were suspended last June. By the same token Putin also guaranteed adequate gas deliveries to the entire EU. This is not at all a small thing. In reality natural gas supplies are, or rather were, the most effective ‘weapon’ Russia could use to threaten or even blackmail Brussels and Kiev over the future of east Ukraine.

Putin surprised everybody

This development surprised many but not those who knew that Russia’s future cannot be built on an Asian venture. Russia tried it at the beginning of the twentieth century and it all ended up to a humiliating defeat in the Russo-Japanese war of 1904-1905. During the past few months Russia again tried an eastwards turn, after the West imposed on her a series of serious sanctions. Moscow realized a number of overtures to Beijing, but the occupant of Kremlin must have understood that nothing…compares to Europe.

In her long history, Russia as an imperial or communist power of global range had always been a core European country, leaving its marks on the geopolitical developments in the Old Continent and being deeply influenced by it at the same time. It’s not only that Russia’s economic relations with the rest of Europe cannot be substituted by anything else. There are a lot more things tying the two sides together. In reality, if Russia could ever cut off the rest of Europe from its energy supplies, Europe world retaliate and cut out Russia from the rest of the world. And this in no way can be mended by a Moscow’s opening to Beijing. Geography and history cannot be altered.

How did this happen?

Back to last Friday, it seems that Europe in Milan managed to agree on a platform to settle its Ukrainian problem without American ‘help’. The background was a gathering of EU-Asia leaders in the north Italian city of Milan. The interest however was concentrated on the successive meetings between the European leaders. The close encounters started with an early Friday summit. The leaders of the four most important EU countries, that is the German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and British Prime Minister David Cameron, participated in a meeting between the Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko.

Obviously the four west European leaders were there to back Poroshenko in his dealings with the Russian President. To put it bluntly they were there to negotiate Ukraine’s future with Putin. However, while the Russian leader had a very clear vision of what he wanted to gain out of the Ukrainian issue, the four westerners had widely diverging interests. The meeting had disappointing results. Angela Merkel though didn’t give up.

Later on in the day the German Chancellor and the French President Francois Hollande arranged a new gathering with the Putin and Poroshenko. The four of them along with aides, met in a hotel in central Milan. Reportedly it was the German leader who took the initiative in this last gathering. In the between she had strongly criticized the Russian in front of everybody at the EU-Asian gathering.

Understandably, Germany has a lot more at stake in the Ukrainian stalemate than any other of the three major west European powers. Undoubtedly London, Paris and Rome have their own interests over the Ukrainian question, but Berlin has far more to lose or gain from the final arrangement between Kiev and Moscow.

Merkel convinced Putin

It seems then that Merkel had very convincing arguments in bargaining with Putin. The most important of them must have been that Berlin holds the keys to the commercial and the financial relations of Russia with the Western world. London probably attracts the expatriate Russian oligarchs to live comfortably on their loots, but Germany is the catalyst and the pipeline for the real investments and commercial flows between Russia and the West.

As it turned out, after this last meeting, Putin indirectly clarified that he is not to use his most powerful ‘weapon’ against the rest of Europe; natural gas deliveries. Not only that, he also explained that Russia is to resume deliveries of liquid energy to Ukraine that have being ceased since June. Of course he added that he wants up front $4.5 billion dollars Ukraine owes to Russia from past provisions. But this is something that can be arranged. The presence of aides in the Merkel, Hollande, Putin and Poroshenko meeting shows that the bargaining was not only political one but detailed business aspects were negotiated too.

All in all, the final outcome proves that Russia decided it cannot detach herself from Germany and the rest of Western Europe. Asia may be a very large continent and China a huge country, but Russia has always been a European player. The country is a central actor in Europe’s history, spiritual and cultural tradition and this cannot be changed. On top of that, Asia is not an easy terrain and cannot guarantee to Russia multiple attachments to global developments. Consequently, Russia acknowledged that it can’t oversee Geography and accepted what Western Europe had to offer.

 

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Aid used for trade is helping developing countries diversify

3 charts that show how global carbon emissions hit a record high in 2018

FROM THE FIELD: Malawi farmers diversify to fight climate change

Top UN Syria envoy hails ‘impressive’ start to historic talks in Geneva

COVID-19: More new virus cases outside China than in, ‘no time for complacency’, says UN health agency

It’s time to end the stigma around mental health in the workplace

Livelihoods of millions in East and Southeast Asia at risk from Swine Fever epidemic

Venezuela: Parliament calls for urgent EU help for people fleeing the country

Can elections in Italy and Germany derail Eurozone?

Which role does art play in the COVID-19 pandemic?

GSMA Announces Speakers for Mobile 360 – Russia & CIS 2018

UN rights chief bemoans unilateral sanctions on Venezuela, fearing ‘far-reaching implications’

A new global platform to unleash entrepreneurs on the world’s toughest problems

In West Africa, UN Security Council visits Côte d’Ivoire and Guinea-Bissau

Mine action is at ‘the nexus’ of peace, security and development: UN official

Schengen: new rules for temporary checks at national borders

Successful third issuance of EU SURE bonds by the European Commission

What will higher education in Africa look like after COVID-19?

A 3-step plan for carbon-neutral cars

Parliament seals ban on throwaway plastics by 2021

UN human rights office urges Egypt to immediately release detained protestors

Landmark terror finance resolution adopted by Security Council

As Houthi forces withdraw from key Yemeni ports, UN monitoring chief welcomes ‘first practical step on the ground’

Safe spaces offer security and dignity for youth, and help make the world ‘better for all’: Guterres

East Africa locusts threaten food insecurity across subregion, alerts UN agriculture agency

5G will drive Industry 4.0 in the Middle East and Africa

Could Europe become the first climate-neutral continent?

Brexit: European Commission intensifies preparedness work and outlines contingency action plan in the event of a no deal scenario with the UK

Fertilisers/cadmium: Parliament and Council negotiators reach provisional deal

How to bring precision medicine into the doctor’s office

Brexit must not put UK university research at risk

These are the biggest risks facing our world in 2019

Antitrust: Commission publishes report on the impact of the Interchange Fees Regulation

Doctors and nurses around the world are calling in sick

Inspired by orange peel, this ‘plastic’ packaging is totally compostable

4 eco-friendly products put sustainable spins on classic practices, from teacups to hankies

LGBTQI+ and medicine, in the Land of the Pure

As the Universal Declaration of Human Rights turns 70 – is it time for a new approach?

Water reuse: Commission proposes measures to make it easier and safer for agricultural irrigation

AI can help with the COVID-19 crisis – but the right human input is key

The European Youth Forum needs better signal for its “call” for Quality Internships

Migration crisis, a human crisis after all

Time is running out to protect Africa’s forests

‘We won’t get to zero cases of Ebola without a big scale-up in funding,’ UN relief chief warns

UN condemns deadly attack against G5 Sahel force headquarters in Mali

The scary EU elections result and the delayed Council’s repentance

A male gynecologist in Iraq: red line violated

Myanmar willing to repatriate ‘verified returnees’ from Bangladesh

Internet Forum: Prioritize technologies most needed for sustainable development

With Caribbean island life under threat, UN chief pushes to face ‘headwinds together’

Darfur peace process at a ‘standstill’ as demonstrations against Sudanese Government continue

How tiny countries top social and economic league tables (and win at football, too)

What brands get wrong about China – and how to put it right

Drought in Europe: Member States agree on support measures proposed by the Commission

Why does the whole world want Britain to stay in the EU?

What happiness can teach us about how we measure human development

Syria: UN chief welcomes first aid convoy to Rukban camp since January, joint agency operation assists 50,000

These patients are sharing their data to improve healthcare standards

Circular Plastics Alliance: 100+ signatories commit to use 10 million tons of recycled plastic in new products by 2025

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s