The tendency is not toward escalation. Volodymyr Zelensky’s office has announced that Ukrainian officials will meet with their current Russian counterparts. Maybe some sort of agreement can be had that will end all this madness. As report to CBC, Zelensky’s office said that “the two sides would meet at an unspecified area on the Belarusian border and would not give a precise time for their meeting.”
This was a turnaround from Ukraine’s past stance that the talks should not happen in Belarus, whose leader Alexander Lukashenko is a longtime Putin ally. Now Zelensky’s office stated that Lukashenko “has taken responsibility for guaranteeing that all planes, missiles and helicopters stationed on Belarusian territory stay on the ground during the Ukrainian delegation’s discussions and return.” We can hope.
Otherwise, tensions are ramping up everywhere. Putin this Sunday “ordered the Russian defense minister and the leader of the military’s general staff to place the nuclear deterrent forces into a ‘special regime of combat readiness,’ a heightened amounts of readiness.”
Putin stated this was a reply to what he said was as “aggressive comments” by NATO powers. As far back as February 8, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz stated that NATO would give a unified reply to Russian aggression on Ukraine: “All the steps we will take we will do it all together. As the President stated, we are now preparing for this. You can understand and be absolutely sure that Germany will be with its allies, and that we will take the same steps. There won’t be differences in the situation.”
Old Biden’s handlers, meanwhile, have said we won’t get into a war with Russia, but that we will keep our promise to defend other NATO nations if they are attacked. Those two positions might quite easily move into a complete contradiction with each another.