More sanctions and isolation: the gift for Putin’s 70th birthday
Russian President Vladimir Putin turns 70 this Friday, but he has little reason to celebrate, given the continued retreat of Moscow’s forces in Ukraine and increasing criticism of the military leadership. On the eve of the anniversary, the gift of the European Union (EU) was new sanctions and the first meeting of the European Political Community, which brought together the leaders of the 27 member states with those of 17 other European countries. The initiative of French Emmanuel Macron only left out Putin and his main ally, Belarusian Alexander Lukashenko.
More than joint communiqués and since there was no official agenda, the important thing was the family photo of the meeting of the leaders of 43 European countries in Prague – the Danish Prime Minister, Mette Frederiksen, was absent due to the political crisis in her country, which led her to call early elections. At the entrance to the event in the Czech Republic, Macron said the project – which he proposed in May during the French EU presidency – was intended to send a message of “unity” and “strategic intimacy”. This despite several divisions on the continent.
“This meeting is a way of looking at a new order without Russia,” said European diplomacy chief Josep Borrell, noting that Putin “does not have a place” but that does not mean that Moscow is forever excluded from the group. The idea is to have meetings every six months, with the next one taking place in Moldova and the other in Spain.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky gave a speech by videoconference, highlighting precisely the absence of Russia – “a state that geographically seems to belong to Europe, but in terms of its values and behavior, it is the most anti-European state in the world”. Zelensky also said that Ukraine must continue to fight the invasion “so that Russian tanks do not advance on Warsaw or again on Prague”, calling for more weapons for its army and for more sanctions to be applied “to punish the aggressor”. .
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