US Urges Ukraine Cooperation Ahead of Critical Russia Meetings

This week, the Biden presidency and its European partners will gather to demonstrate to Russia that an incursion by Ukraine will be met with swift retaliation.

The US and its European allies warned Russian President Putin if he continues military participation in Ukraine, his country will suffer tremendous repercussions and catastrophic costs.

Germany’s Stance

The Blinken-Baerbock meeting follows a phone contact between President Biden and Putin last week.

It also follows a talk with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Biden on Sunday, along with a group session on Tuesday involving Biden’s national security advisor, Jake Sullivan, and his Nordic equivalents.

In addition to the NATO-Russia Council, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) will hold a series of meetings in the coming weeks.

Baerbock, the senior diplomat in the first German cabinet without Angela Merkel in 16 years, has been more critical of Russia. She cautioned Moscow that aggressive steps against Ukraine will cost them politically and economically.

Ahead of her journey to Washington, Baerbock emphasized the significance of the Trans-Atlantic partnership and its shared principles. She added Germany is committed to maintaining peace in Europe, including with Russia.

She said the American and European countries’ messages to Russia are clear. Russian actions have a precise cost; discussion is the only way out of the problem.

Western leaders have hinted at imposing economic measures if Russia does not respond. The international banking system has been virtually shut down and NATO integrates non-allied European states.

Germany is a crucial player in the Biden administration’s efforts to get international support for possible punitive actions. Securing its support will be essential to both communication and execution.

Business links between Germany and Russia may have influence, but they may also hinder a cohesive front against Moscow.

Germany’s new, center-left government has shown no willingness to halt natural gas supply through a newly completed pipeline between Russia and Germany, despite heavy US criticism.

Germany maintains a less combative approach toward Russia than many other European states.

It urged the Biden administration not to penalize the corporation in developing the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which many fear could leave Europe’s energy-dependent Russia and Ukraine susceptible.

Nord Stream 2

Nord Stream 2 is an issue of considerable concern in Washington.

Congress is set to take up two pieces of legislation connected to it and other Russian restrictions next week, just as the discussions in Europe unfold.

A Republican bill would immediately penalize Nord Stream 2, while a Democrat measure would sanction Russia more broadly if it invaded Ukraine.

Both Republican and Democrat politicians in Washington accuse Nord Stream 2 of giving Russia more power over Germany and restricting Berlin’s options in the event of another invasion.

Germany, like much of Europe, relies significantly on Russian gas. Sanctions must be successful in the dollar, and the euro, said Florida Republican Rep. Mike Waltz, who went to Ukraine in December with other US politicians.

Rep. Seth Moulton, a Massachusetts Democrat who went to Ukraine with the congressmembers, said the US could give energy to Germany if it stopped purchasing Russian gas.

Moulton believes Germany is starting to wake up.