Normandy Format talks will take place today in Berlin to address Russia-Ukraine tensions.
Today’s meeting, part of a longer series of negotiations on ending the Donbas conflict, comes as Russia continues its military buildup along the Ukrainian border, and as German Chancellor Olaf Scholz deals with allegations of not fully supporting Ukraine for his refusal to supply weapons deliveries.
Given high tensions between Russia and Ukraine, the format is unlikely to make progress towards a peace agreement, though Macron will pressure both to honor the Minsk Accords.
Instead, expect the meeting to revolve around humanitarian efforts and prisoner exchanges in the Donbas as each country publicly advocates for a ceasefire. While a Russian invasion in the short-term is unlikely with the Olympics ongoing, NATO—having recently deployed more troops to Poland—and the EU— currently formulating sanctions in Brussels—are preparing for the worst.
In the medium-term, France and Germany will continue with diplomatic de-escalation talks that are unlikely to make progress with Putin, who is focused on stopping a potential accession of Ukraine to NATO. In the long-term, expect the Russian-Ukrainian border crisis to drag on as Russia’s security concerns and Ukraine’s territorial integrity make for diametrically opposed geopolitical negotiations.
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Scott is an Analyst at Foreign Brief and works in International Development in Washington DC. His specific interests are geopolitics, regional conflict and governance, and political and economic development, and his geographic focus is Sub-Saharan Africa.