Yesterday, German chancellor Angela Merkel invited Vladimir Putin to Berlin, Germany, to participate in a discussion for peace in Ukraine. This is an extension of the 2015 Minsk agreement.
Although hostilities between the pro-Russian separatists and Ukraine have not ceased completely, there has been relative calm. Since that agreement was made, brokered by France and Germany, there have been no large-scale battles between the two.
Angela Merkel said the purpose of the meeting is to revive the peace effort for eastern Ukraine, and she also plans to meet the leaders of France and Ukraine.
This will be the first such meeting since October 2015. That previous meeting took place in Paris.
There was a meeting scheduled between Putin and Francois Hollande, scheduled for October 19, but Putin called it off. Hollande had criticized Russia’s role in Syria and told the media he would also discuss Syria at that meeting. Putin was obviously not amused.
It is known that there were phone calls between the leaders last week, and those calls likely lead to the offer of this meting. Then Hollande’s actions let to the cancellation of the meeting in Paris.
Commentators are suggesting the situation is similar to the Cold War. A lot has changed since that time, and new western leaders have not learned to keep quiet about their dealings with Russia. Such discussions are generally sensitive issues. Hollande should have expected that pressuring Putin via the media would not be acceptable.