German Chancellor Olaf Scholz will discuss Russia and the Ukraine crisis today with French President Emmanuel Macron.
Talks between the White House and the Kremlin have stalled as the former has rejected as nonstarters demands to limit NATO’s expansion and withdraw its alliance forces from former Warsaw Pact countries.
Given the extent of the conflict’s escalation, a full backdown is unlikely. Analysts believe Putin must do something. A full-scale invasion and occupation of Ukraine is unlikely – it would draw the harshest sanctions possible, including Russia’s ejection from the international Swift payment system. Anything short of a Russian march on Kyiv is likely to spawn discord between the US and its European allies, particularly Germany and France, who import much of their natural gas from Russia and are currently experiencing an energy crunch.
Further Russian or Russian-backed incursions into Eastern Ukraine to shore up rebel-held territory in the Donbass region, in conjunction with destabilizing cyberattacks on critical infrastructure, are more probable outcomes. In such an event, Germany and France would not likely support detaching Russia from Swift. However, the future of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline would likely be put on hold, at least in the medium term, depriving Russia of billions in oil revenues.
Max is Foreign Brief's Chief Executive Officer. A Latin America specialist, Max is an expert in regional political and economic trends, focusing particularly on the Southern Cone.