Today’s Athens talks saw European Union foreign ministers meeting to discuss Russia sanctions. While we saw the typical push for more confrontational measures from Western members, the broad consensus seems to be for a rethink of the policy.
Officially, the rethink was about “preserving stability” in the eastern EU membership bloc, where a trade and sanctions war with Russia threatens economic ruin. There’s more to it than that, however.
The unspoken reality is that the push for a sanctions war was built around a narrative of imminent Russian invasions across Europe, and despite continued predictions from hawks of an invasion of Ukraine any minute, the situation really does seem to be stabilizing.
While those officials continued to give lip-service to the idea Russia is becoming “more confrontational,” German FM Frank-Walter Steinmeier and others conceded that it is not a time for aggressive action, but a time to wait and see exactly what Russia is doing, and how their relationship might be salvaged.