Amid the fighting in Ukraine, cracks are emerging in the NATO alliance as members are divided on some key issues, Bloomberg reported on Monday.
NATO members are split on whether or not they should be speaking with Putin to seek a diplomatic solution to the war. French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz have been engaging with Putin and favor the idea of talks as a way to end the crisis.
“In view of the horrible pictures that we currently have to stomach now for several days and actually weeks, the highest priority for now is to be able to reach a cease-fire so that the killing can stop,” Steffen Hebestreit, a spokesman for Scholz, told reporters on Monday.
According to a document obtained by Bloomberg, some NATO members are skeptical of France and Germany’s approach and think talks with Putin are counterproductive. The document said the UK, Poland, and other central and Eastern European nations — with the exception of Hungary — don’t think Putin is serious about negotiations.
President Biden made it clear that he is not pursuing diplomacy with Putin over the weekend when he said the Russian President “cannot remain in power.” When asked about Biden’s remarks, Macron said, “We shouldn’t escalate, with words or actions.”
Two diplomats from the countries opposed to talks with Putin told Bloomberg that they’re afraid Macron’s engagement could lead to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky agreeing to neutrality. During talks in Istanbul on Tuesday, Ukraine presented a potential peace deal to the Russians that would include Kyiv declaring neutrality, although Ukraine is seeking security guarantees from NATO countries.
According to Bloomberg, leaders from Britain, the Baltic states, and most Eastern European countries favor sending Ukraine more advanced weapons, such as new anti-aircraft capabilities. But other NATO members are worried sending more arms could provoke Moscow.
Zelensky has asked NATO to send planes and tanks, but a French official said doing so would be like “pouring oil” on a fire.