Europe’s confusion over the war in Ukraine

2024/04/06 | interview, political, top news

Strategic Council Online-Interview: An expert on European issues said that on the second anniversary of the Russian army's attack on Ukraine, the leaders of the governments of Canada, Italy, and Belgium, along with the head of the European Union Commission traveled to Kiev to express solidarity with the people of Ukraine, and during this trip, the Italian Prime Minister signed a 10=year defense-security agreement with Ukraine. After signing a similar agreement with Kyiv, Canada's Prime Minister promised more than $2.25 billion in financial and military aid to the Ukrainian authorities this year. Earlier, France and Germany had signed similar defense contracts with Ukraine.

Speaking to the Strategic Council of Foreign Relations, Morteza Makki said that by signing bilateral security agreements with Ukraine, Western leaders are trying to gain its trust to continue Europe’s support for Ukraine against Russia. However, on the second anniversary of Russia’s attack on Ukraine, the uncertainty about the prospect of a war between Russia and Ukraine has increased much more than last year.

Makki said that Volodymyr Zelenskiy signed bilateral security agreements with these countries during his visits to Germany, France, and the UK during the last two weeks. He also added that “the prime ministers of the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, and Canada signed bilateral security agreements with Ukraine during their visit to Kyiv. These bilateral security agreements were signed to pave the way for Ukraine’s membership in NATO.”

The expert on European issues emphasized that “European countries are very worried that by accepting Ukraine into NATO, they will be directly involved face to face with Russia, and they are not shy to express this concern.”

He pointed out that the Italian Foreign Minister admitted at the Munich security meeting that Ukraine’s membership in NATO is dangerous and could lead to a third world war. He added that “Ukraine met with different reactions and showed that the Europeans are very sensitive to this issue and do not want to enter into a direct conflict with Russia.”

Makki emphasized that “inside France, the left and right-wing parties strongly opposed Macron’s positions. German Chancellor Schultz also reacted to the issue of sending French troops and announced that Germany has no intention of sending troops to Ukraine”.

According to this expert, such positions show that the Europeans want to declare their support for Ukraine by signing bilateral security agreements while avoiding direct confrontation with Russia.

In response to a question about to what extent this policy can help Ukraine in politics and on the ground to confront the Russian army, Makki said that “this matter is facing serious doubts. Besides, these bilateral security agreements are not binding and show a split within the European Union and the NATO treaty on how to continue financial and military aid to the Ukrainian army in the fight against Russia.”

He added that “Victor Orban, the Prime Minister of Hungary, which is both a member of the European Union and NATO, announced in one of his positions that only Trump can end the war in Ukraine. This position shows that some European countries seek a way out of the Ukraine crisis”.

The expert on European issues explained about Trump’s plan for Ukraine that Trump also wants to recognize the territories occupied by Russia and establish a minimal ceasefire on the borders of Ukraine and Russia.

In response to a question about to what extent the continuation of Western financial and military aid to Ukraine and even the signing of security agreements affect Ukraine’s political and on-the-ground arena, Makki said, “This issue is still facing serious doubts. Until now, the Westerners did not have the pressure of public opinion to stop the financial and military aid to Ukraine, but now there is a question on the level of the public opinion of the West that how long this aid is going to continue; that under circumstances during which the Ukrainian army is in a defensive position and is retreating from its positions in eastern Ukraine.”

He added that “the Russian army has also shown that it is not in a weak and unstable position, and despite the heavy losses, it still has a serious will to defeat the Ukrainian army so that it may be able to convince Ukraine and its Western supporters to press for a peace treaty or a cease-fire.”

According to this expert, in any case, Russia is also under severe economic and political pressure, and it seems that it is interested in achieving even an unstable ceasefire with the same possessions it has obtained from the territory of Ukraine.

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