Destinations Magazine

Russia and the West: Vladimir Putin’s European Adventures

By Stizzard
Russia and the West: Vladimir Putin’s European adventures

AS RUSSIA’S president, Vladimir Putin, sat down for dinner with his French counterpart, François Hollande, this week in Paris (one of two state dinners in the Elysée on the same evening, so that Barack Obama would not cross paths with Mr Putin), he might have been forgiven for thinking that the worst moments of his angry clash with the West were behind him. Even as eastern Ukraine sinks into further conflict, European leaders have little appetite for new sanctions against Russia. With official meetings fixed with Mr Hollande and Britain’s David Cameron, the diplomatic isolation threatened by Western leaders is not extending to Mr Putin personally. And France is going ahead with its sale of Mistral-class assault ships to Russia.In Ukraine, Mr Putin may also presume he is getting what he wants, even if Moscow is not directing day-to-day fighting in the east. Ukraine’s newly elected president, Petro Poroshenko, who will be inaugurated this weekend, is inheriting a messy and intractable conflict that will divert attention and resources from other problems, not least a floundering economy. Financial woes and the need to end the fighting will force Mr Poroshenko to deal…

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