German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock walks past Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov after their joint press conference, Moscow, Russia, January 18, 2022 (Russian Foreign Ministry Press Service/AP/DPA)
UPDATE, JAN 21:
I spoke further with Austria’s Radio FM4 on Thursday about the US and European responses to Russia’s threat to Ukraine, analyze the confusion in President Joe Biden’s statement over a direct Russian invasion v. “minor incursions”.
I explain the challenge arising from Biden’s tangled words: while the US, Europe, and NATO have responded firmly to Vladimir Putin’s gamble of a possible cross-border attack, is that just giving space for Putin to continue Russia’s “hybrid warfare” since 2014 — including special forces and weapons aiding separatists in eastern Ukraine, cyber-attacks, and attempts to undermine the Ukrainian economy?
If Russia was behind the most recent cyber-attacks, is that an act of war where you are willing to expand economic sanctions significantly? If you find Russian special forces are in eastern Ukraine directing the fighting on the frontline, is that an act of war?
I think Biden’s words point to this being in a gray area. The problem is that unless you make it clear how you will respond, Russia will exploit that gray area for some time to come.
UPDATE, JAN 20:
In a discussion with Turkey’s ANews about the Biden Administration’s first anniversary in office, I spoke further about President Joe Biden’s statement on Ukraine and Russia as well as the Administration’s maneuvers over a historic budget blocked by Republicans.
— ANews (@anews) January 20, 2022
UPDATE, JAN 19:
I joined Ukrainian analyst Olga Tokariuk and Monocle 24’s Markus Hippi on Wednesday to evaluate the latest maneuvers over Ukraine, including German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock’s talks in Kyiv and in Moscow and the forthcoming discussions between US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Brussels, Kyiv, and Moscow.
Listen from 1:33:
[Correction: I said that French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian had joined Baerbock in Ukraine. Contrary to initial reports, Le Drian did not visit, although Baerbock said she and he would be in Kyiv in the near-future.]
ORIGINAL ENTRY, JAN 11: I joined Monocle 24’s Georgina Godwin on Tuesday to analyze Monday’s talks between the US and Russia over Ukraine, including Moscow’s pressure and deployment of military troops and Russian leader Vladimir Putin’s demand that NATO break all links with Kyiv.
Listen to the 10-minute discussion from 2:16:
Beyond a summary of Monday’s discussion, I look at Russia’s motives and maneuvers, the respond of the US and its partners, and the military and diplomatic possibilities in the near-future and beyond.
Eight hours of talks is not going to solve a conflict eight years in the making. The headline is that Russia wants security guarantees, but what security guarantees means for Vladimir Putin is “security guarantees for me while I have a free hand in Ukraine”.