First it was German Chancellor Angela Merkel making a trip to Moscow. Then there was an unexpected meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and US Secretary of State John Kerry in Sochi. Is this the beginning of a thaw in relations between Russia and the West?
Signs of reconciliation: Despite the tensions between Russia and the West, Chancellor Merkel together with President Putin in Moscow
On the day after Russia celebrated the seventieth anniversary of victory over Nazi Germany Merkel and Putin both emphacized the importance of a diplomatic solution to the Ukraine conflict.
This was quickly followed by a meeting between US Secretary of State John Kerry and President Putin. They covered a whole range of topics including sanctions imposed on Russia, the ongoing civil war in Syria, conflict in Yemen and Iran's nuclear programme.
Is this a genuine turning point? Or is it just a reluctant acceptance that the two sides have to work together?
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Lucian Kim - is a Berlin-based journalist who has written about the Ukraine conflict for Slate, Reuters, Newsweek, and BuzzFeed. He previously worked as a correspondent for Bloomberg News in Moscow and The Christian Science Monitor in Berlin. Kim says: "There's a huge temptation for the West to forget about Ukraine and go back to 'business as usual' with Russia. It's a clash between economic interests and values. Western countries must continue to support Ukraine's path toward democracy during its most vulnerable moment as an independent country."
Alan Posener - was born in London and grew up in Kuala Lumpur and Berlin. He is an author of numerous books and a commentator for the German newspaper “Die Welt”. Posener says: “When Russia ends its aggression in the Ukraine, returns the territory it stole from Georgia and Moldova and stops supporting Syrin and Iran, we can start mending fences. Until then, a cold war is inevitable. And the West will win again, only quicker this time.”
Moritz Gathmann - has been reporting on the former Soviet Union for over ten years. Between 2008 and 2013 he lived in Moscow and Kaluga, working for a number of major German publications. He also worked for the Russian State funded Newspaper “Russland Heute”. Since 2013, he is covering the Ukrainian crisis for the German news magazine Der Spiegel and other publications. Gathmann says: "The relations between the West and Russia are cracked but not broken. But the danger of further escalation is real. There have been signs over the last weeks that the West and Russia could get back to pragmatic relations. And we shouldn't expect more than that in the near future."