Mogherini goes to Moscow but is missing in action in Ukraine

Midway into her term, Federica Mogherini found herself in Moscow. The high representative had wanted to go to Moscow for some time to establish a dialogue with Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov.

But there had been little enthusiasm for this idea among member states because of frosty relations with Russia and, in particular, Russia’s continued failure to deliver on the Minsk agreements. Scepticism about the high representative going to Moscow stemmed from a fear that such a visit could be interpreted – or spun – as a drive to normalise relations with Russia.

Ultimately, however, the visit only highlighted the minor role played by the high representative in dealing with the conflict in Ukraine. It is true that European Union member states have taken a firm stance against Russia’s action in Ukraine by imposing sanctions and taking other restrictive measures. The European Commission and a few member states have also provided substantial assistance for reform in Ukraine. Germany and France have taken it upon themselves to lead the diplomatic efforts on Ukraine. But the EU as such is not part of the diplomatic negotiations, nor has it used any crisis-management mechanisms to deal with the conflict.

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov.

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Fredrik Wesslau of the European Council on Foreign Relations

Fredrik Wesslau is Director of the Wider Europe Programme and senior policy fellow at ECFR. He has spent the past decade working for the EU, OSCE, and UN on conflicts and crisis management in the Balkans, South Caucasus, and Africa. He served as political adviser to the EU Special Representative for the South Caucasus with a particular focus on the Russia-Georgia conflict between 2008 and 2011. Prior to that he spent several years in Kosovo where he worked for the OSCE and UN, including as Special Adviser to the UN SRSG.Most recently, Fredrik worked on Africa as Country Representative for an EU counter-piracy mission operating off the Horn of Africa and as political adviser to the EUSR for Sudan and South Sudan. Fredrik is the author of The Political Adviser's Handbook and has previously worked as a journalist, writing mainly for the International Herald Tribune. He has masters degrees from Columbia University (SIPA) and Sciences Po Paris and an Bachelor's degree in international relations from the London School of Economics.