In recent days, President Putin has sent contradicting messages to Ukraine and NATO members as the window for diplomacy tightens. Germany’s chancellor Olaf Scholz met with Putin on Tuesday to once again encourage Putin to retreat from the Ukrainian border.
The German Chancellor declared that Ukraine must give up its bid for a NATO membership if it is to avoid attack from Russia.
After meeting with Putin in Moscow, Scholz said that a war over Ukraine’s right to become a member of Nato would be “absurd” and that in the talks he had endeavoured to find a solution to the issue.
Scholz told German media: “The fact is that all involved know that NATO membership for Ukraine is not on the agenda.
“Everyone must step back a bit here and make it clear to themselves that we just can’t possibly have a military conflict over a question that is not on the agenda.”
He added: “It is a question of leadership ability for all involved – in Russia, in Ukraine, in NATO – to make sure we don’t have an absurd situation that would be about something like that.”
The move would signify what the West is willing to sacrifice in order to avoid war with Russia as the West has always rejected Russia’s demands to end its “open door policy,” and from Ukraine whose constitution features their aspirations to join NATO.
On Tuesday morning, a spokesperson for Russia’s defence ministry stated: “Units of the southern and Western military districts, having completed their tasks, have already begun loading onto rail and road transport and today they will begin moving to their military garrisons.”
This announcement gave the leaders in the West hope that the crisis was beginning to subside, and following the statement from Russia’s defence ministry, Russia’s foreign ministry then said: “February 15, 2022 will go down in history as the day Western propaganda failed.
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The West are cautious to be too hopeful at the first few signs of Russian retreat as when asked if he would continue withdrawing troops Putin said: “Who will be able to answer how it will develop? At the moment…it does not just depend on us.”
Putin is well known for “maskirovka” meaning the Russian tactic of misdirection and so despite the uptick in the financial markets, leaders remain incredibly cautious.
NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg stated after news of possible retreat: “So far we have not seen any de-escalation on the group, nor any signs of reduced Russian military presence on the borders with Ukraine.”