It is very likely that this new Russian action against Ukraine will further deteriorate Moscow's relations with Europeans, maybe not in the immediate future but on the long term. In Germany in particular, the challenging of borders through the use of force is perceived as a direct threat to the country’s security, which relies, much more than France’s, on the treaties established at the end of the Cold War. The psychological effect of this crisis could therefore be profound, even if governments are currently keeping a relatively low profile.
Second, this event could also unfortunately amplify the differences between European states vis-à-vis Russia, between those who see an additional danger in this new development and those who, on the contrary, will want to find extenuating circumstances for Russian action, or to minimize the scope of its effects.
Finally, while the previous Putin-Trump meeting was likely to worry America's allies, one cannot help but hope for a better dialogue between Russian and American leaders. The cancellation of the meeting on the margins of the Buenos Aires summit is therefore not good news.
What can Europe do to restore a normalized dialogue with Russia? How should such a dialogue tackle the case of Ukraine?
Europe could potentially play a significant role in the resolution of the crisis with Ukraine, more so than the US, which is not part of the Minsk agreements. The Ukraine issue is primarily European, which means that Europe can and should be involved in its resolution. This might require a more active engagement from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), a consultation with UN peacekeepers, and a post-conflict development plan for Donbass, clearly allowing Ukraine to remain a critical bloc standing between Russia and Europe. the Ukraine issue is playing out in the pursuit of its goal to build a genuine European security architecture.