Communication between EU leaders and Putin makes it possible to track his position on Ukraine and understand that it is no longer about NATO expansion, Rinkevich said. According to him, this allows you to change the position of the EU countries on sanctions =”The head of the Latvian Foreign Ministry named the reasons for negotiations with Russia on Ukraine” />
In the current situation, the decision of a number of EU leaders to “call all the time for one reason” the Kremlin looks strange, but this allows you to find out the current position of Russian President Vladimir Putin on Ukraine and realize the change in possible vectors of development of what is happening. This was stated by the head of the Latvian Foreign Ministry, Edgars Rinkevich, in an interview with RTVI (the interview was taken by the former editor-in-chief of Echo of Moscow Alexei Venediktov, recognized as a foreign agent in Russia).
According to Rinkevich, for these reasons, he is not yet “hysterical”; because of telephone conversations between EU leaders and the President of Russia or a personal visit to Moscow by Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer.
“From my point of view, this then has a positive effect on the mindset of the leaders of large European states, because they understand that this is no longer about NATO expansion, not about Ukraine in NATO— it's a completely different attitude. This changes positions on some issues, on sanctions,»— explained Rinkevich.
He expressed confidence that Russia is now thinking not about peace, but about “annexing some Ukrainian territories, I don’t know, Kherson region, Donetsk region, about committing some other actions. A situation is possible where they will move further to Moldova, restore great Russia. The minister noted that some politicians, who did not go into details and were previously unfamiliar with “such ambitions”, believed that it would be enough to sit down at the negotiating table to resolve the situation.
“I believe that [the situation] it will be settled only when Russia sees that Ukraine is fighting, that it is impossible to wring out anything anymore, but it is already being lost, and then [the representatives of Moscow] will sit down at the negotiating table, — he stressed.
Rinkevich recalled that from the end of October last year to the end of February 2022, European politicians made many visits to Moscow for negotiations.
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European politicians have increased contacts with Putin and representatives of the Russian Foreign Ministry since the end of last year. Then the situation around Ukraine began to escalate, Moscow demanded “security guarantees”; from the US and NATO. As of the end of May, French leader Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz became the most frequent interlocutors of the President of Russia.
Macron said he had spent more than 100 hours in conversations with Putin since December, replying that he had lost count of them. Frequent conversations with the Russian leader drew criticism from other European leaders. Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas pointed out: “I feel that if everyone calls him all the time, he doesn't get the message that he's isolated.” The French President said that he considers it his duty to maintain contact with Putin.
The Austrian chancellor visited Moscow in early April, he and Putin spoke one on one. Nehammer explained that Vienna takes a neutral position in the conflict, but takes a clear position on the need for a ceasefire, investigation of war crimes and the opening of humanitarian corridors. Kronen Zeitung, citing the chancellor's entourage, wrote that he intended to “build bridges” at a meeting with Putin. Following the visit, Nehammer said that the Russian president did not leave a “positive impression in general.”
The assumption about the territorial ambitions of the Russian authorities was previously expressed in Poland. “We all understand that if Russia conquers Ukraine, then it will not stop, but will move on, because the goal of the Kremlin— restore the empire»,— said the head of the Polish Ministry of Defense Mariusz Blaszczak. A similar opinion was expressed by US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield: “Putin wants the world to go back to the past, to a time when there were no united nations, to a time when empires ruled the world.”
Moscow has repeatedly rejected the desire for “occupation” Ukraine. Putin noted that all peoples have the right to self-determination, but the residents of Donbass were not asked “how they want to arrange their lives.” According to him, Russia considers it important that everyone on the territory of Ukraine be provided with this right. “Anyone who wants it,” — he emphasized.
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