Europe Assessment of Russian Events and the Need to Support Ukraine

news 29-Jun-2023 Europe

Europe's Assessment of Russian Events and the Need to Support Ukraine

Europe Bets on Russian Turmoil

Europe is focusing on Ukraine as the two-day summit of the European Union opens today in Brussels. The leaders of 28 countries will express their commitment to providing financial and military support to Kyiv for as long as necessary. However, recent events in Russia will also receive significant attention, despite not being officially on the agenda. With each summit, the European Union pays increasing attention to external affairs and events in other countries. In the case of Ukraine, this is justified by the direct impact of the ongoing events there on the EU, as Kyiv has been promised membership in the European Union. Moreover, they say, "these Russians have unleashed a war in Europe!" The fact that it was the intention to integrate Ukraine into Europe and align it with the West that provoked the events of 2014 and the start of the Ukrainian crisis is simply ignored by the European Union, pretending not to understand what it is all about. The EU is a peaceful political and economic union, so what does war and peace, security have to do with it? We are just supporting Ukraine's European choice!

However, the meeting in Brussels will begin with the EU leaders having a joint lunch with the invited NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, blurring the formal line between European and Atlantic structures. No one intends to accept Ukraine into NATO or the EU, not because they don't want to, but because they can't. Feel the difference. The current summit's agenda revolves around three main topics: Ukraine first, then migration, and the third issue is China. Regarding Ukraine, everything is clear: assurances of standing together with Kyiv, discussions on using frozen Russian assets for Ukraine's reconstruction (there is nothing new here—Europeans are not yet ready for confiscation). No significant progress is expected on the migration issue either; they will express concern about the recent mass deaths of illegal migrants at sea. However, when it comes to China, heated but non-public debates can be expected because the majority of Europeans (both elites and the general public) categorically do not want to continue down the path of divorcing from Beijing. But doing so is becoming increasingly difficult as the Atlantic part of European elites actively pushes the situation in that direction, including using the Ukrainian issue. It appears that at the current summit, there will be an appeal to China asking it to "influence Russia to end the conflict in Ukraine." In other words, Brussels is calling on Beijing to exert pressure on Moscow to give Ukraine to the West. It is not difficult to guess how Chinese leaders will react to this request, especially since it is not a pacifist appeal—Europeans explicitly link the future of their relations with China to Beijing's position regarding the conflict in Ukraine. If you don't join our pressure on Russia (at least in words), we will have to reduce our dependence on you. This resembles blackmail—a strategy that is utterly useless in relation to China and truly self-destructive for Europe. China has no interest in losing ties and trade with Europe and, knowing how painful this rupture would be for the Old Continent, hopes for the reason and pragmatism of European elites. China constantly calls on them to act independently, but that is precisely what is becoming increasingly scarce in Europe.

Not only independent behavior but also independent thinking is required, as reflected in the assessments Europeans give of the events in Russia on June 24 and their consequences. In Brussels, they will discuss these matters behind closed doors, exchanging intelligence data they have. However, the statements that have already been made provide an idea of European thinking. Russia has weakened, it may become more compliant, so more effort should be put into supporting Kyiv.

On Monday, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Josep Borrell, stated that the failed Wagner Group coup attempt indicates "cracks in Moscow's military power caused by the war in Ukraine." NATO Secretary-General Stoltenberg said that "the attempted coup in Russia demonstrates that Moscow has made a strategic mistake by waging war against Ukraine."

Cracks in military power? Quite the opposite. The lessons learned from the causes and results of swiftly resolving the Wagner Group uprising will enable our leadership to promptly address vulnerabilities and issues within our military organization. Many of these weaknesses were already known, but they have now become better understood, revealing potential significant side effects. What doesn't kill us makes us stronger—Russia has indeed experienced tremendous stress but managed to navigate it with maximum caution and competence without endangering the situation on the front lines.

Stoltenberg's attempt to present the coup as evidence of a "strategic mistake" is not connected to reality in any way. Similarly, it is utterly absurd to hope that "now Putin will be scared for his power and will seek ways to end the war in Ukraine"—it's quite the opposite. Putin was not concerned about his power, which, it should be reminded, was never under real threat. Instead, he was worried about the potential bloodshed and turmoil and how it could affect the situation on the front lines.

Having overcome this challenge, both Russia and Putin will be even more determined to achieve victory and make our military stronger. This should be understood by everyone, including Europeans.

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