TOP News

World: As the U.S. seeks to calm Russia tensions, Europe pushes to be included

Putin's Ukraine delusions threaten Russians

  Putin's Ukraine delusions threaten Russians Central to Putin's view of Russian power is his contention that Ukraine is a Russian appendage led astray by the West.Paranoia drives Putin's overreach, whether he's issuing security ultimatums to the West or justifying media crackdowns at home. He frequently relies on rhetorical sleight of hand: He lumps the boogeyman of NATO expansion and independent news outlets together as "threats to the Russian Federation." But neither Moscow's supposed adversaries abroad nor its invented enemies within are threats to Russia or Russians. They are threats to Putin's regime and his conception of his own power.

  • There are key meetings between U.S., Russian and NATO officials next week amid concerns of a potential invasion of Ukraine.
  • The EU — the political and economic group of 27 nations — will not be present as a whole, despite several of its members bordering with Russia.
  • However, an analyst at consultancy firm Teneo, said that the exclusion of the EU from the talks is not surprising.
European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell and Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba visit the line of contact in Luhansk, Ukraine. © Provided by CNBC European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell and Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba visit the line of contact in Luhansk, Ukraine.

The United States and Russia are having key talks next week and the EU's top diplomat is disappointed that the bloc will not be around the table as well.

Biden-Putin call ushers in new phase of diplomacy

  Biden-Putin call ushers in new phase of diplomacy Russia was again urged to ease its military buildup near Ukraine ahead of a pivotal month of talks.But they also expressed hope that more formal “strategic stability talks” between Washington and Moscow set for January on myriad issues could lead to a path out of the current crisis that Russia says is intended to prevent Ukraine from joining the Western alliance.

A potential Russian invasion of Ukraine is a top concern for many leaders, given multiple reports of heightened military activity close to the border. In a bid to ease these tensions, top U.S. and Russian officials will be gathering in Geneva, Switzerland on Monday. This meeting will precede wider talks between Russia and members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) on Wednesday.

However, the EU — the political and economic group of 27 nations — will not be present as a whole despite several of its members bordering with Russia.

"There is no security in Europe without the security of Ukraine. And it is clear that any discussion on European security must include European Union and Ukraine," Josep Borrell, the EU's high representative in charge of foreign affairs, said at a press conference on Wednesday.

Biden to speak with Ukrainian president as US warns against Russian

  Biden to speak with Ukrainian president as US warns against Russian President Joe Biden will speak with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Sunday, several days after Biden urged Russian President Vladimir Putin to ease an unremitting military crisis on Ukraine's border.President Joe Biden will speak with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Sunday, several days after Biden urged Russian President Vladimir Putin to ease an unremitting military crisis on Ukraine's border.

"Any discussion about Ukraine must involve Ukraine first of all. And the talk about security in Europe cannot be done without not only the consultations, but the participation of the Europeans," Borrell said in Ukraine, where he visited the eastern part of the nation where low-scale military skirmishes between Ukrainian troops and pro-Russian forces have been going on for several years.

This marked the first time that the EU's top diplomat visited the conflict-hit region.

However, an analyst at consultancy firm Teneo, said that the exclusion of the EU from the talks is not surprising.

"The sidelining of the EU from the upcoming talks is hardly surprising, given that NATO, and particularly the U.S., serves as the main guarantor of security in CEE (Central and Eastern Europe)," Andrius Tursa, said Wednesday in a note.

In fact, the EU as a whole does not have a strong defense capacity — it relies mostly on NATO, and to some extent on the U.S., when it comes to security.

US pushes unity on Ukraine ahead of key Russia meetings

  US pushes unity on Ukraine ahead of key Russia meetings WASHINGTON (AP) — In a display of unity, the Biden administration and its European allies are beginning a series of meetings aimed at showing Russia that an invasion of Ukraine would be met with a forceful response. Using virtually identical language, the U.S. and its European allies have several times in the past month issued joint and individual messages advising Russian President Vladimir Putin that his country will face "massiveUsing virtually identical language, the U.S.

But, regardless of its security capacities, there's a lot at stake for the EU in upcoming talks with Russia, including on the energy front.

The majority of natural gas going into Europe already comes from Russia. In 2020, this represented about 43% of the total gas imports to the bloc, according to Eurostat. And a key pipeline between Russia and Germany, Nord Stream 2, is hanging in the balance amid the ongoing tensions with the Kremlin — this is a problem for Russia because it could be making more money from gas exports, and for the EU too because it could help containing some of the price increases registered in the last months.

Wolfgang Ischinger, former German ambassador to the U.S., told CNBC earlier this week that Nord Stream 2 is something that the EU can use to pressure Moscow.

"I think the pipeline represents a major item of leverage for us, if we handle it smartly," Ischinger, now chairman of the Munich Security Conference, told CNBC's Hadley Gamble.

An icy relationship

Borrell's aim to be included in the talks with Russia comes almost a year after a "humiliating" trip to Russia.

Sunday shows preview: Congress marks Jan. 6 anniversary; US, Russia to hold talks amid rising tensions

  Sunday shows preview: Congress marks Jan. 6 anniversary; US, Russia to hold talks amid rising tensions This week's Sunday show circuit is expected to center on the Jan. 6 anniversary earlier this week as well as upcoming talks between Russia and the United States as tensions between the two nations rise.Talks between Russia and the U.S. are set to begin Monday. A senior Biden administration official told reporters on Saturday that the U.S. plans to initiate talks about military exercises in Eastern Europe and missile placements during its meetings with the Russian delegation. "Russia has said it feels threatened by the prospect of offensive missile systems being placed in Ukraine.

The EU's top diplomat visited Moscow last February to voice the bloc's opposition against the arrest of Russian opposition politician Alexei Navalny. During the trip, Borrell was heavily criticized after failing to rebuff comments from his Russian counterpart that the EU was an "unreliable partner."

This took the EU-Russian relationship to a new low, according to political analysts.

However, concerns about a potential Russian invasion of Ukraine are complicating their relationship further.

"The conflict on the borders is on the verge of getting deeper and tensions have been building up with respect to the European security as a whole," Borrell said Wednesday.

It is estimated that about 100,000 Russian troops have been deployed to the country's border with Ukraine. Both countries have been at war since 2014 — the year when Moscow annexed Crimea.

The Kremlin, for its part, has denied any plans to invade Ukraine.

However, Russia has demanded that NATO and the U.S. decrease their presence in eastern Europe and do not allow Ukraine to become a member of the military alliance.

One of the founding principles of NATO is that an attack against one of them is considered an attack against all.

Fears of Russian invasion of Ukraine rises despite US push for diplomacy .
U.S. officials are raising alarm that Russian threats of war against Ukraine are spiking dangerously despite the conclusion of a week of diplomatic meetings aimed at avoiding the outbreak of open conflict. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan warned Thursday that Russia is preparing a "false flag" operation to use as a pretext to launch an offensive against Kyiv on top of its buildup of more than 100,000 troops on Ukraine's eastern border.National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan warned Thursday that Russia is preparing a "false flag" operation to use as a pretext to launch an offensive against Kyiv on top of its buildup of more than 100,000 troops on Ukraine's eastern border.

See also