The meetings between European leaders and Putin demonstrated the dead-end situation in the solution of Ukraine’s crisis
At the ASEM summit Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko was presented with the opportunity to talk with Vladimir Putin about the ways to solve the conflict in Donbas with the support of European leaders at a round table. There were great hopes for the summit, as the first people in the European Union, as well as the heads of Germany, France, Britain were supposed to incline the Russian President towards compromise during personal meetings.
However, Europe was lenient this time. Even the hawk of Western diplomacy David Cameron abstained from traditional threats to impose new sanctions. In his meeting with Vladimir Putin, he limited himself to a warning that Europe may not take off the sanctions that had been imposed already should the Kremlin not take real steps towards solving the Ukrainian conflict.
On the first day of the summit the Russian President held a two-hour-long meeting behind closed doors with the German Chancellor Angela Merkel which, according to the official release, “focused on the issues of gas supplies to Europe.” Vladimir Putin discussed the Ukrainian conflict on Friday during a 90-minute-long work breakfast with Petro Poroshenko in the presence of Angela Merkel, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, British Prime Minister David Cameron, French President Francois Holland, as well as the chairmen of the EU Commission and the EU council Jose Manuel Barroso and Herman Van Rompuy.
At the summit the Russian President exuded benevolence, smiled to the reporters, shook hands with Petro Poroshenko and claimed that his meetings with the European leaders had been “good” and “positive.”
However, at the same time his press secretary Dmitry Peskov, according to Reuters, “poured cold water on the hopes to reach any kind of breakthrough” in the Ukrainian-Russian conflict. Vladimir Putin’s official representatives stated that “the meetings are really difficult, full of misunderstandings and contradictions,” and noted “the unwillingness of some participants of the official breakfast in Milan to understand the real state of affairs in the Ukrainian southeast.”
“An increasing number of analysts say Vladimir Putin’s endgame is to seize as much territory as possible and then freeze the conflict paralyzing Ukraine,” writes The Telegraph.
Angela Merkel also stated that “no movement” occurred after the meeting with Vladimir Putin. The Chancellor of Germany accused Russia of using the separatists in Donbas with the goal to prevent Ukraine’s integration into Europe.
The Russian President vehemently denies such accusations. ”Vladimir Putin said very clearly that he doesn’t want a frozen conflict, he doesn’t want a divided Ukraine,” Dailymail cites David Cameron.
The Russian President also presented the ‘gas threats’ to Europe in the shape of denial, emphasizing that Russia is not creating any kind of crisis in the European Union. According to Vladimir Putin, Europe risks not receiving the 15% of gas which come there from Russia through Ukrainian territory. “If we see that our Ukrainian partners-as in 2008- start siphoning off our gas from the export pipeline system in an unauthorized manner then we will also – like in 2008- be gradually reducing supplies by the amount that has been stolen,” Vladimir Putin told reporters on a visit to Belgrade.