In the background of deteriorating conditions in Ukraine, German Chancellor Angela Merkel met US President Barak Obama at the White House to display a united front against aggression by Russia.
Obama along with Merkel at a joint press conference with said, “We continue to encourage a diplomatic resolution to this issue and as diplomatic efforts continue this week. We are in absolute agreement that the 21st century cannot stand idle and simply allow the borders of Europe to be redrawn at the barrel of a gun.”
The situation in Eastern Ukraine has worsened in the past weeks with the death toll crossing 5300 and over 1.5 million people displaced. Ukraine and the Western Powers are trying to get Russia onboard peace agreement they have signed in the past and deescalate the situation. Another agreement has been drawn on Friday but past ceasefires have not been adhered to leading to Ukraine hardening its stance and stating that it won’t adhere to any agreement that deviates from the September ceasefire that was signed and largely ignored.
President Obama has been withstanding domestic pressure to arm Ukrainian army against Pro Russian separatists.
Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain said in Munich last week “The Ukrainians are being slaughtered and we’re sending them blankets and meals. Blankets don’t do well against Russian tanks.”
However European nations, Germany in particular are urging caution. Germany is likely to be hit most by reprisal sanctions from Russia in the event of more sanctions by the US and its allies. Merkel who spoke fluent Russian and grew up in East Germany was in the forefront in the wake of the Ukrainian rebellion that ousted a Russian-supported president. When the population in Crimea rose to form a new government, Russia annexed it and hopes to do the same in Eastern Ukraine which is populated by Russian speaking people.
Merkel held her line Monday, pushing back against arming the Ukrainian’s fighting pro-Russian separatists. “One of the most important messages we can and need to send to Russia is to continue to pursue diplomatic solution. We have to put all efforts in bringing about diplomatic solution.”