Europe Fractures: France Pivots To Putin, Cyprus Offers Moscow Military Base, Germany-US Splinter On Ukraine
Following yesterday's summary of the utter farce that the Minsk Summit/Ukraine "peace" deal talks have become, the various parties involved appear to be fracturing even faster today. The headlines are coming thick and fast but most prescient appears to be: Despite John Kerry's denial of any split between Germany and US over arms deliveries to Ukraine, German Foreign Minister Steinmeier slammed Washington's strategy for being "not just risky but counterproductive." But perhaps most significantly is France's continued apparent pivot towards Russia... Following Francois Hollande's calls for greater autonomy for Eastern Ukraine, former French President Nicolas Sarkozy has come out in apparent support of Russia (and specifically against the US), "we are part of a common civilization with Russia,” adding, "the interests of the Americans with the Russians are not the interests of Europe and Russia." Even NATO appears to have given up hope of peace as Stoltenberg's statements show little optimism and the decision byCyprus to allow Russia to use its soil for military facilities suggests all is not at all well in the European 'union'.
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier doubled down on Germany's rejection of weapons deliveries to Ukraine in a speech here Sunday...
- *GABRIEL SAYS GERMAN SPD WOULD NEVER BACK ARMS TO UKRAINE
- *EUROPE SEES U.S. ARMS DELIVERIES TO UKRAINE AS BAD IDEA: LAVROV
"I see this, to say it openly, as not just for risky but for counter-productive," Mr. Steinmeier said at the Munich Security Conference. Mr. Steinmeier also hit back at open criticism of Germany's position on weapons deliveries from U.S. Senators and others here on Saturday. The White House is mulling delivering weapons to Ukraine to support the country's fight against pro-Russia separatists in the country's east.
"Perhaps we are so insistent because we know the region a bit," Mr. Steinmeier said.
But John Kerry says, everything's fine... as he denies any split between U.S. and Europe on Russia policy...
Secretary of State John Kerry on Sunday denied any divisions between the U.S. and Europe over how to handle Russia, as Germany announced another high-level summit aimed at stemming the crisis in Ukraine.
Kerry told a security conference in Munich that he wanted to "assure everybody there is no division, there is no split"between Washington and its European allies amid the crisis in Ukraine.
"We are united, we are working closely together," he told the conference following meetings with his French and German counterparts. "We all agree that this challenge will not end through military force. We are united in our diplomacy."
But perhaps most significantly is France's continued apparent pivot towards Russia... Following Francois Hollande's calls for greater autonomy for Eastern Ukraine, former French President Nicolas Sarkozy has come out in apparent support of Russia (and specifically against the US).
“We are part of a common civilization with Russia,” said Sarkozy, speaking on Saturday at the congress of the Union for a Popular Movement Party (UMP), which the former president heads.
“The interests of the Americans with the Russians are not the interests of Europe and Russia,” he said adding that “we do not want the revival of a Cold War between Europe and Russia.”
“Crimea has chosen Russia, and we cannot blame it [for doing so],” he said pointing out that “we must find the means to create a peacekeeping force to protect Russian speakers in Ukraine.”
And then Cyprus joins the fracture party, offering to sign a military cooperation agreement on Feb 25th offering Russia the use of military facilities on its soil...
The air force base at which Russian planes will use is about 40 kilometers from Britain's sovereign Air Force base at Akrotiri, on the south shores of Cyprus, which provides support to NATO operations in the Middle and Near East regions
Even NATO appears to know the "peace deal" is not coming...
- STOLTENBERG: 'IMPOSSIBLE TO SAY' IF MINSK PRODUCES CEASE-FIRE
But there is still hope.. as Germany's Vice-Chanceller hopes...
- *GERMANY'S GABRIEL `CAUTIOUSLY OPTIMISTIC' ABOUT MINSK SUMMIT
- *PUTIN MUST TAKE EU'S `OUTSTRETCHED HAND,' GABRIEL SAYS
- *EU SEEKS POST-CRISIS PARTNERSHIP RENEWAL WITH RUSSIA: GABRIEL
We will know soon...
- *RUSSIA SAYS FEB. 9-10 UKRAINE MEETINGS TO PREPARE MINSK SUMMIT
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