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Libération - France | Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Don't sacrifice Ukraine to Mid-East compromise

Pro-Russian rebels in Ukraine on the weekend launched their fiercest attacks on government troops since the ceasefire in mid-February, according to official sources in Kiev. France and Germany could be tempted to make concessions to Russia with an eye to the situation in the Middle East, the centre-left daily Libération fears: "For a while Russia was isolated over its aggressive policy in Ukraine, something Obama also criticised. But now there's no getting around it when it comes to international security - particularly in the Middle East. Putin, who seems increasingly bent on distancing himself from Bashar al-Assad, has become an essential partner for a political solution in Syria. So there is a real risk that Ukraine may be sacrificed in the interest of a sweeping deal with Russia. Angela Merkel remains firm despite the pressure from German business. ... François Hollande is more flexible, but the solution of the conflict involving the Mistral warships has once again given him room to manoeuvre vis-à-vis Moscow. In any case, the credibility of Paris and Berlin is at stake."

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