EU Leaders Debate Merits of Holding Summit With Putin

24 Jun

EU Leaders Debate Merits of Holding Summit With Putin

European Union leaders meeting in Brussels Thursday are considering a proposal by France and Germany to holding a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, a proposal that is receiving a cool response from member nations bordering Russia.
 
France and Germany proposed the summit in the wake of Putin’s summit with U.S. President Joe Biden earlier this month. As he arrived in Brussels, French President Emmanuel Macron told reporters that a summit is necessary for the stability of Europe, and such a meeting could be done without surrendering any values or interests.
 
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she was glad to see the summit between Biden and Putin and said Europe, being much closer geographically to Russia, must do the same.  
 
“We cannot just stand by and watch the dialogue between the U.S. and Russia, while many issues such as Ukraine affect us more than the U.S.,” Merkel said.
 
Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Thursday that Putin agrees, saying the Russian president sees such a dialogue as truly necessary for both sides.
 
But eastern European nations are wary. As they arrived in Brussels, the leaders of Lithuania and Estonia told reporters they do not trust Russia, and said its recent aggressive behavior has not earned it a summit with European leaders.  
 
Latvian Prime Minister Arturs Krisjanis Karins agreed, saying a summit could be seen as rewarding Russia for actions such as its annexation of Crimea.
 
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, holds the same view. Poland has suffered recent cyberattacks that intelligence agencies have traced back to Russian sources.
 
Both the 27-nation EU and the NATO military organization are searching for ways to respond to Russia’s recent aggressive behavior. Merkel has said what is important is that the EU member nations respond in a coordinated way, whether through dialogue or additional restrictive measures such as sanctions.
 This report contains material from The Associated Press, Reuters, and AFP.
 

SJ

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