On Thursday, leaders from the European Union said, they are weighing options which include seeking a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin as part of a strategy to manage relations with Moscow and exit the current “negative spiral”.
On Wednesday, envoys for France and Germany had proposed holding a summit with Putin as a possible way to repair relations between the trading partners, as a follow up of U.S. President Joe Biden’s summit in Geneva with Putin.
“We cannot isolate Russia because Russia is a reality that none of us can escape,” said Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba ahead of a visit to Brussels. “We need to motivate Moscow to cease its aggressive actions”.
Ever since Russia’s annexation of the Crimea peninsula in 2014, EU policy has zigzagged between imposing economic sanctions and allowing a new gas pipeline from Russia to Germany to reach completion. Efforts to resolve a conflict with Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine have reached a stalemate, despite peace agreements and ceasefires.
Earlier this week, a Russian ship fired warning shots and dropped bombs in the path of a British destroyer sailing in the Black Sea off the coast of Crimea. Britain is no longer a member of the EU.
“Out of a confrontational of ideas comes understanding,” said a senior EU diplomat in support of the EU strategy.
Later this week, the EU aims to publish details of economic sanctions on Belarus, Russia’s ally that the Kremlin sees as a buffer state between Russia and NATO.