Baltic politicians slammed French and German leaders for discussing with Russian President Vladimir Putin how to lift the blockade of Ukrainian ports, underscoring differences among Western allies over how to handle diplomatic issues with Moscow.
Eastern European leaders are uneasy over Western European leaders’ willingness to talk to Putin, renewing suspicions that some EU countries are pushing for Kyiv to cede territory to end war.
“It is unbelievable that the leaders of France and Germany inadvertently paved the way for new violence in Russia. . . . How could Paris and Berlin not learn from history? Why is it presumed that Putin is currently targeting major Europeans Waging war, intending to keep the promise?” ask Marko Mickelson, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Estonian Parliament.
Dear Prime Minister of Latvia Artis Pabriks, Say On Twitter: “There seems to be a clear need for some so-called Western leaders to humiliate themselves while completely disconnected from political reality.”
German Chancellor Olaf Schultz and French President Emmanuel Macron 80 minutes on the phone On Saturday, the Russian president told them that Moscow was willing to find ways to lift grain exports from Ukraine’s Black Sea ports, and if sanctions were lifted, it could boost its own exports of fertilizers and agricultural products.
Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi also discussed the issue with Putin two days ago, in an attempt to alleviate a global food crisis that particularly threatens developing countries.
As the war enters its fourth month, many Eastern European countries are increasingly at odds with the likes of Germany and France over the wisdom of talking to Putin. The Baltic states believe that such a call would only empower Putin and that instead, Europe should provide Ukraine with more arms.
Over the past three days, hundreds of ordinary Lithuanians have crowdfunded 5 million euros to buy a Turkish military drone for Ukraine, according to Laisves TV, the internet broadcaster that launched the fundraising.
Citing a phrase Macron had previously used to describe NATO, Mickelson asked if the actions of the French and German leaders were “brain dead”.
He added: “Macron and Scholz should hang up and book a trip to Ukraine in a hurry. I hope their special action is not out of fear of losing the influence of a democratic Europe that Ukraine is sure to enter after winning the war.”
Lithuania’s foreign minister Gabriel Landsbergis said on Sunday that Russia “must be isolated” as countries around the world including India, Australia, Japan, South Korea and “little Taiwan” watch anxiously what happens in Ukraine thing. “Giving the occupier a chance to seize territory means it can be repeated elsewhere,” he added.
Putin, Scholz and Macron discussed whether a negotiated solution could be found to open up Odessa to allow grain exports to leave Ukraine, according to a briefing after the Elysee Palace conference call.
The French and German leaders “note the Russian president’s commitment to allow ships to enter the port to export grain that will not be used by Russia for military purposes, provided that the port has been demined in advance,” the briefing said.
Some Western capitals fear a looming food crisis and its devastating impact on poor families in Africa and the Middle East could spark a new wave of European migration.