Russia-Ukraine conflict: Are We heading towards World War?

The biggest international news at the moment is from Moscow, the capital of Russia, where French President Emmanuel Macron met Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Insight Bureau: Several world leaders lined up Monday to walk a diplomatic tightrope that could mean the difference between war in Ukraine and an uneasy peace there as Russia’s menacing actions on the border of its neighbour continued unabated. The biggest international news at the moment is from Moscow, the capital of Russia, where French President Emmanuel Macron met Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Russian President Vladimir Putin was back at the Kremlin in Moscow following his diplomatic foray to get support from China over the weekend during the Winter Olympics.

Western estimates that some 100,000 Russian troops have massed near Ukraine are increasing worries that an offensive could be only days away. At the same time, borders of nations in the NATO military alliance are also being shored up.

Even if the 27-nation European Union as bloc has had little impact on the crisis over Ukraine, France has always felt it could force a breakthrough in the East-West stalemate, and Macron is the epitome of that confidence.

Moscow is only the first of a one-two diplomatic dance that will also take the French leader to Kyiv on Tuesday.

What makes the execution of that much more complicated is the need to keep a unified Western front among over two dozen players in the face of the Kremlin monolith, where one man’s will faces precious little opposition.

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Macron’s essential challenge is make sure things don’t get worse on the ground “before building confidence gestures and mechanisms.”

“The geopolitical objective of Russia today is clearly not Ukraine, but to clarify the rules of cohabitation with NATO and the EU,” Macron said. Even if Ukraine’ security cannot be a bargaining chip, Macron said “it is also legitimate for Russia to pose the question of its own security.”

France and Germany have worked in tandem before. Seven years ago, they were essential in creating a peace deal for eastern Ukraine in a bid to end fighting between Ukrainian government forces and Russia-backed separatists that erupted in 2014 following the Russian annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula.

Ukrainian officials have called that peace deal unworkable and divisive, but it did tamper down the fighting.

Germany is also mulling sending more troops to Lithuania, potentially reinforcing its presence on NATO’s eastern flank. Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht has raised the possibility ahead of Scholz’s meeting with Biden.

A few dozen elite US troops and equipment were seen landing Sunday in southeastern Poland near the border with Ukraine, following Biden’s orders to deploy 1,700 soldiers there amid fears of a Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Amid fears of war, the citizens of Ukraine and the people of other countries living there are also worried. Most Ukrainian citizens consider Russia to be the culprit for this conflict and there are frequent demonstrations against Russia in the capital. Many of them are also of Indian origin, who is not in favour of war. And they want this problem to be solved not by deployment but by diplomacy.

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