Diplomatic Briefing

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Newsline: Russian diplomats frozen out of the decision-making in Moscow

Russia’s diplomatic corps was frozen out of the decision-making process in Moscow, forcing its envoys to improvise without the benefit of previewing the Kremlin’s increasingly militarized playbook. The gap between the actions of the Kremlin and assurances of Russia’s diplomats have been especially gaping during the runup to and aftermath of the Ukraine invasion, when the entirety of the Russian foreign ministry repeated falsely, repeatedly, that Putin had no intention of seizing Ukraine by force, only to revise their account to suggest that Russia had been forced to invade because of unsubstantiated claims of Ukrainian aggression in pro-Russian separatist enclaves in eastern Ukraine. This has also engendered deep skepticism about the credibility of Russian pledges or its commitment to pursue meaningful diplomatic talks with Ukraine, which it falsely claims is controlled by a cabal of neo-Nazis. (https://foreignpolicy.com/2022/03/04/russian-diplomats-ukraine-putin/) The reputational damage inflicted on Russia’s diplomats has implications for the prospects of any diplomatic settlement to end the war, fueling deep misgivings among Ukrainian officials and Western diplomats about any level of trustworthiness of their Russian counterparts to build working relationships.

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