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The Telegraph, U.K.

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War or Peace?: Putin Alone Will Decide (Le Monde, France)

 

"The Ukrainian affair will move toward a shaky equilibrium with the merit of stopping the cycle of violence, or in one of those patterns Europe knows only too well, into a wider confrontation - a war at the heart of the continent between Russia and the West with Ukrainians in the middle. Really, though, everything depends on one man: Vladimir Putin. Does the Russian president believe he has done enough to make Kiev pay for its crime of misalliance with the E.U.? Does he want to begin the healing process? Does he want to continue to maintain the war? Rightly, Berlin and Paris have offered a compromise. The response lies in the Kremlin and nowhere else."

 

EDITORIAL

 

Translated By Pierre Guittard

 

February 8, 2015

 

France Le Monde Original Article (French)

This is one of those moments when history teeters between a conflict that is localized, even if murderous, and a wider and more worrying confrontation. The Ukrainian affair can go in either direction. It will move toward a shaky and unsatisfactory equilibrium with the merit of stopping the cycle of violence, or in one of those patterns Europe knows only too well, into a wider confrontation - a war at the heart of the continent between Russia and the West with Ukrainians in the middle.

 

The stakes explain the renewed diplomatic activity of the moment. After visiting the Ukrainian capital Kiev at the same time as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Thursday (Feb. 5), Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel were in Moscow on Friday.

 

So what do we have? It is a more-or-less concerted effort to achieve a lasting cease-fire and the beginning of a negotiated solution. The Franco-German initiative is welcome. In response to ten days of "exchanges" with Moscow and Kiev, Germans and French have drafted a joint proposal for a settlement which they are now submitting to the Russians and Ukrainians. The approach is positive. As Mr. Holland said at his press conference on Thursday, Europeans must try everything possible to prevent Ukraine from plunging "into total war."

 

http://worldmeets.us/images/merkel-munich-security-conference-screen_pic.jpg

 

SEE ALSO ON THIS:
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The initiative is driven by events on the ground and what is being increasingly murmured in Washington. Pro-Russian separatists in east Ukraine, transformed by the Kremlin into a true army with armored personnel carriers, T-80 tanks and heavy artillery, have recently widened the territories they seized last year. On the other side, in a country facing the most serious economic difficulties, the Ukrainian army is not handling the impact well, is under-equipped and under-trained.

 

This renewed aggression which was decided in Moscow and driven on the ground by Russian military leaders has brought the United States to consider supplying weapons to Kiev. Barack Obama is hesitant but Ashton Carter, his new defense secretary, is in favor. Mr. Hollande and Madam Merkel, always opposed to Ukraine's entry into NATO, fear the turn this will take the Ukrainian affair: in the heart of Europe, an indirect confrontation between Americans and Russians.

Posted by Worldmeets.US

 

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Very little information has filtered out about the Franco-German proposal. It would redraw the ceasefire; reaffirm the territorial integrity of Ukraine as part of eventual federalism; and it would encourage Kiev to make gestures favorable to populations in the east. And it could reassure Russians on the implementation of any trade agreement between Ukraine and the European Union.

 

Really, though, everything depends on one man: Vladimir Putin. Does the Russian president believe he has done enough to make Kiev pay for its crime of misalliance with the E.U.? Does he want to begin the healing process? Does he want to continue to maintain the war? Rightly, Berlin and Paris have offered a compromise. The response lies in the Kremlin and nowhere else.

 

 

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[Posted by Worldmeets.US February 8, 3:19pm]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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