In recent weeks, the leaders of the three largest EU countries by population—France, Germany, and Italy—have all come out in favor of negotiations between Kyiv and Moscow as a way to end the fighting in Ukraine.
Unlike President Biden, French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi have all spoken with Russian President Vladimir Putin since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24.
The three European leaders have all signed off on sending weapons to the Ukrainians but have also been calling for a ceasefire. After speaking with Putin by phone on Friday (May 13), Scholz wrote on Twitter: “There must be a ceasefire in Ukraine as quickly as possible.”
In an address to European Parliament last week, Macron said, “We are not at war with Russia.” He said that Europe’s “duty is to stand with Ukraine to achieve a ceasefire, then build peace.”
Draghi met with President Biden last week, and after the meeting, the Italian leader, who previously discouraged talks with Russia, said it was time to start thinking about a peace deal. “We agreed that we must continue to support Ukraine and put pressure on Moscow, but also begin to ask how to build peace,” Draghi said.
“People … want to think about the possibility of bringing a ceasefire and starting again some credible negotiations. That’s the situation right now. I think that we have to think deeply on how to address this,” Draghi added.