[ Editor’s Note: The Ukraine mess shows signs of abating, with press releases today from both sides, some reasonable signals mixed in with the usual pompous Western comments about the “huge price Russia will pay for an invasion”.
Zelensky has distanced himself from the NATO expansion issue in clear terms, that Ukraine did not bring up the issue. His was a contrived statement, as he has already stocked up on the free Western weapons and munitions. Everybody loves a leader that can get a lot of free stuff, a big vote generator.
Putin and Lavrov have reminded everybody again that the winter exercises are due to end soon. Someone with half a brain could figure out that means a pullback will begin in early March.
Western audiences who only read the headlines and not down to the bottom of the page will never know about the ending date of the exercises, and will credit their ‘brave and tough’ leaders from backing the Rooskies down.
Zelensky, revealing he knows the game being played, is already shifting his interest to the gas pipeline issue, looking for some dough there, and things like maybe sanctions threats against Nordstream 2 if Putin does not pay off the Ukies for any gas revenues they might lose.
Imagine that, political people wanting payoffs. The only wildcard I see now is the Ukraine troops that have cleared the minefields in front of them, not something you would do if you were expecting a Russian attack.
When we do the after action analysis on this semi-drama, I would bet we are going to see a lot of playacting in hindsight. German Chancellor Schloz, a latecomer, is getting his licks in today to have some quotable lines to show how bravely he faced the danger, never wavering, blah, blah, blah.
But with nobody dead at the end of a ‘crisis’, that’s a wonderful crisis… Jim W. Dean]
First published February 14, 2022
KYIV — German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy sought Monday to tamp down tension with Russia by suggesting that NATO membership for Ukraine was not on their agenda.
At a press conference in Kyiv, Scholz and Zelenskiy played down the likelihood of Ukraine joining the military alliance in the foreseeable future…. Putin has declared that any further NATO expansion to the east would be “unacceptable” and demanded “security guarantees” for Moscow.
“The question of [Ukrainian] membership in alliances is practically not on the agenda,” Scholz said at the press conference, which followed a two-hour meeting between the leaders.
…Zelenskiy said NATO membership was a remote “dream” but added: “For us, NATO membership is not the absolute goal. That’s not a question that comes from us.”
…On that note, Scholz praised Zelenskiy for assuring him that Ukraine’s government would present “the relevant draft laws that we need for the continuation of the Minsk process,”
…“This is a good process, which will help to ensure that there can be no pretexts [by Russia] in the necessary strategy for getting out of the situation that is now in a deadlock,” Scholz said. “Ukraine is making a very important contribution here, and I am very grateful for it.”