Macron-Putin Meeting Produces Potential Deal as Biden Continues Threats – News Roundup 2/8/2022

by | Feb 7, 2022

Macron-Putin Meeting Produces Potential Deal as Biden Continues Threats – News Roundup 2/8/2022

by | Feb 7, 2022

News Roundup from The Libertarian Institute by Kyle Anzalone

The meeting between French President Emmanuel Macron and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin has produced a potential agreement to de-escalate tensions over Ukraine, according to officials in Paris. The Financial Times reports that Putin has “moved towards de-escalating the Ukraine crisis by promising not to undertake any new ‘military initiatives’ and agreeing to withdraw thousands of Russian troops from Belarus after the completion of planned exercises.”

While Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov clarified that any deal would “require agreement from France’s EU and NATO allies, first and foremost the US,” Putin said the Paris proposal could serve as a basis for a settlement to the conflict in Eastern Ukraine, adding that he “will do everything to find compromises that suit everyone.” Putin and Macron plan to speak again after the French leader meets with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

A second bilateral meeting between world leaders occurred in Washington, where US President Joe Biden met with German Chancellor Olaf Sholtz. Biden continues to take an aggressive posture, threatening to shut down the Nord Stream 2 pipeline between Russia and Germany. 

While Scholtz said Berlin is in agreement with the US on the steps it would take if Russia invaded Ukraine, the chancellor refrained from mentioning the Nord Stream 2 project and cited the need for ambiguity on sanctions, arguing “we do not spell out everything in public.”

Like other European powers, Ukraine is unwilling to adopt America’s aggressive rhetoric or pessimistic outlook, even as the supposed victim of the looming ‘Russian aggression.’ Mykhailo Podolyak, advisor to President Zelensky, said “An honest assessment of the situation suggests that the chance of finding a diplomatic solution for de-escalation is still substantially higher than the threat of further escalation.”

One pitfall for any potential agreement would be a major US military escalation in Ukraine. Russia is warning of that possibility, with its TASS news outlet reporting that Kyiv has called on the US to “deploy several battalions of THAAD mobile anti-ballistic missile defense launchers with radars” within its borders.

Since 2007, Putin has warned US missile defense systems in Eastern Europe cross Russia’s ‘red lines’ and pose an existential threat to his country, while Peskov said any such deployment in Ukraine would mark “another step towards destabilization.”

Will Porter contributed to this article.

 

Quick Links

 

US News

  • The IRS abandoned a plan to require Americans to submit to facial recognition scans to access online tax accounts. [Link]
  • The Navy is moving sailors out of housing at Walter Reed base that has lacked hot water for years. [Link]
  • Last year, the US blacklisted former Honduran President Hernandez. His blacklisted status was declassified once he left office. [Link]
  • Biden agrees to lift Trump-era steel tariffs on Japan. [Link]

Russia

  • During a press conference with German Chancellor Scholtz, Biden said the Nord Stream 2 pipeline would be shut off if Russia invaded Ukraine. Scholtz stressed that there was some ambiguity on the matter, although he said he was in step with Germany’s NATO partners. [Link]
  • French officials say Russia agreed to no more military initiatives and to withdraw troops from Belarus after war games are completed. Russia said the US would need to agree to the proposal before any deal was made. After meeting with French President Macron, Putin said some of France’s proposals could serve as a basis for a settlement on the Ukraine issue. [Link]
  • Ukraine says a diplomatic solution is substantially more likely than an invasion. [Link]
  • NATO is considering a longer-term presence in Eastern Europe. [Link]
  • British and French forces traveled to Estonia for 1,300-troop “Winter Camp” war games only 60 miles from the Russian border. [Link]
  • Germany will send an additional 350 troops to Lithuania. [Link]
  • The UK will deploy 300 troops to Poland. [Link]
  • Russia claims Ukraine has requested the US deploy THAAD missile interceptors. [Link]
  • Separatists in Ukraine’s Donbas fear an invasion and are requesting Russia deploy 30,000 troops. [Link]

China

  • The US approved a $100 million weapons sale to Taiwan. The sale includes upgrades and maintenance for the island’s Patriot Missile defense systems. [Link]
  • The US and Philippines concluded the MAREX 22 PH war games. [Link]
  • An Australian official says the US is acquiescing to China in the South China Sea. [Link]

Iran

  • Israel and Bahrain signed a defense agreement. [Link]
  • Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett says Biden assured him Israel has ‘freedom of action’ against Iran. [Link]
  • Indirect talks between the US and Iran will resume this week in Vienna. [Link]
  • Russia says a draft agreement for Iran and the US to return to the JCPOA is on the table but work still needs to be done. [Link]

Syria

  • Belarus will deploy 200 troops to Syria to aid the Russian mission. [Link]
  • A child was killed at the al-Hol prison camp in US-occupied Syria. The death occurred during a fight between the inmates – families of IS fighters – and the Kurdish prison guards. [Link]

About Kyle Anzalone

Kyle Anzalone is news editor of the Libertarian Institute, assistant editor of Antiwar.com and co-host of Conflicts of Interest with Will Porter.

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