Fear of Vladimir Putin grows in EU capitals amid spectre of ‘total war’

That Merkel has gone to Moscow is telling in itself and speaks to the sudden gravity of the situation. The Russian-speaking German chancellor has talked to the German-speaking Putin more than 40 times in the past year as the main western mediator on Ukraine. But until Friday she had never gone to Moscow. Only a few weeks ago she vetoed a summit in Kazakhstan with Putin because she believed there was no point negotiating with someone she no longer trusted.

Putin is demanding that a large tract of eastern Ukraine, taken by force by his separatist proxies in recent weeks, be granted internationally licensed autonomy and that a new frontline be recognised as a basis for a putative ceasefire. Continue reading