Reported differences in how to respond to the Ukraine crisis between Europe and the US have appeared at the Munich Security Conference.
US Secretary of State John Kerry played down any differences after reports senator John McCain had criticised German Chancellor Angela Merkel for opposing the sending of defensive weapons to Kyiv. The EU showed a united front.
“There is one thing on which we all agree, that the only solution to this crisis would be a diplomatic one, and so I think that the efforts in this direction need to be even more strengthened. And I think that the talks next week in Minsk could be an excellent chance to start finally – finally – the implementation of the Minsk agreement,” said Federica Mogherini, EU foreign policy chief.
There were positive vibes from Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov who said he expected Wednesday’s meeting to yield “important decisions”. With diplomacy, of course comes coded language.
“The way to ensure the security in Europe lies uniquely in the respect of the prior commitments. These commitments mean the necessity to ensure an equal and unbreakable security, when no one ensures his security at the expense of the security of others,” told reporters.
The views from the UK on the role of Russian President Vladimir Putin needed no de-coding.
“This man has sent troops across an international border and occupied another country’s territory acting like some mid-20th century tyrant. We do not behave like that,” Phillip Hammond UK Foreign Secretary said on Sunday from the UK.
Angela Merkel left Munich on Sunday on route for Washington for talks with President Barack Obama. Her foreign minister back at the conference, Frank-Walter Steinmeier posed the question in his speech, “Are we not already close to the point of no return?”