Brussels (Brussels Morning) US President Biden’s proposal for a summit meeting with Russia’s President Putin this summer has been received positively by the Kremlin, according to Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov, DW reports.
This gives rise to optimism that tensions between Russia and the Ukraine can be reduced. Austria and Finland have offered to host the summit.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken visits Ukraine this week to reaffirm Washington’s support. US Department of State spokesman Ned Price previously stressed that Kiev enjoys “unwavering US support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity in the face of Russia’s ongoing aggression”.
Ukraine concerned over Russian presence
Ukraine had expressed alarm over the build-up of Russian troops on its eastern border, with Russian military carrying out drills in the annexed Crimea. Moscow’s announced it would withdraw the troops after the exercises.
France and Germany have been trying to mediate between Russia and the Ukraine since the 2014 annexation of Crimea, forging a peace plan in 2015 that did not prevent occasional eruptions of violence from the still-simmering conflict.
German MEP Michael Gahler of the European People’s Party welcomed greater US involvement but stressed it would not diminish the importance of EU member states as mediators.
Germany siding with Russia on gas, NATO
Meanwhile, Germany is not giving up on the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project that will transport Russian gas to Germany, even as Washington continues to oppose the almost finished project, which it claims would make Germany more dependent on Russia.
President Volodymyr Zelensky, in seeking international support, stressed last month that Ukraine cannot stay “in the waiting room of the EU and NATO indefinitely”.
Ukraine’s application to join the NATO in 2008 was turned down, with Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel leading the resistance against its membership bid.
Gahler pointed out that Moscow has been preventing Ukraine from joining NATO by continuing the conflict in the country. The MEP maintained that Ukraine could only join if “it was of benefit to the safety of the existing NATO members”.