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Russia Policy Puts Biden Under Pressure Across Europe

2 30 0
26.06.2021

After four years of U.S. President Donald Trump’s oft-compliant attitude toward Russia, the Biden administration is facing pressure from Capitol Hill and Eastern European allies to harden its stance toward Moscow, following a meeting between U.S. President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin this month in Geneva and efforts by France and Germany to restart a dialogue with Putin.

For Biden, the problem is that he’s trying to clean up two inherited messes that are at cross-purposes: He needs to repair relations with Germany, America’s main ally in mainland Europe, and chart a more muscular approach to rein in Russia’s malicious behavior. All the while, Ukraine—the country caught in the middle—is trying to figure out which way the United States is leaning.

After four years of U.S. President Donald Trump’s oft-compliant attitude toward Russia, the Biden administration is facing pressure from Capitol Hill and Eastern European allies to harden its stance toward Moscow, following a meeting between U.S. President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin this month in Geneva and efforts by France and Germany to restart a dialogue with Putin.

For Biden, the problem is that he’s trying to clean up two inherited messes that are at cross-purposes: He needs to repair relations with Germany, America’s main ally in mainland Europe, and chart a more muscular approach to rein in Russia’s malicious behavior. All the while, Ukraine—the country caught in the middle—is trying to figure out which way the United States is leaning.

The first tripwire has been Russia’s controversial gas pipeline project into Germany, Nord Stream 2. Biden has been hammered for withholding some sanctions related the pipeline as he tries to repair relations with Berlin in the post-Trump era. But it also comes as Eastern European officials and Western analysts raise alarm bells about Russia’s refusal to remove military forces near its border with Ukraine after it amassed troops there in April.

All this could come to a head next month. Biden has invited Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to visit Washington in July, when European officials and congressional aides say they expect the American president to be pressed on U.S. commitment to Ukraine’s low-simmering war with Russian-backed separatists and his policy toward Nord Stream 2. Ahead of the meeting, some analysts fear that Russia might ramp up military pressure on Ukraine again by expanding its military footprint in areas near the Crimean peninsula that........

© Foreign Policy


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