The U.S. daily The New York Times (NYT) reported on the 11th (local time) that there are signs of cracks in the unity of the West, which has been sparing military and economic support for Ukraine and imposing harsh sanctions on Russia.
The New York Times diagnosed a clear difference of opinion between Europe and the United States as the war in Ukraine, which began with the Russian blitzkrieg on February 24, entered a prolonged stance two and a half months later.
Contrary to expectations, when Ukraine stopped Russia’s initial offensive and inflicted damage on the Russian army, the United States threatened Russia to the extent that, as Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin remarked last month, ‘to the extent that it will never again be able to do the kind of things it did when it invaded Ukraine’. Weakening is the goal of this war and is poised to push Russia forward.
On the other hand, major European countries want to withdraw the Russian army to the state before the armistice or the start of the war. This is because they believe that a long war of attrition or an act that humiliates Russia has the potential to further endanger regional security.
In this context, Europe considers it very important to maintain diplomatic dialogue with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
In a recent speech in Strasbourg, France, French President Emmanuel Macron’s remarks, emphasizing that “we must not fall into the temptation of humiliation or revenge (toward Russia),” represent this European sentiment.
“We are not at war with Russia,” Macron said in his speech at the time. “We are working together to protect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, and to bring peace to the European continent.”
A French diplomat who asked for anonymity close to Macron said that France was embarrassed by the US position of maximally arming Ukraine and maintaining unsigned sanctions against Russia.
France is focusing on negotiations and ultimately a relationship with Putin is inevitable, he added, as there is no other way for Ukraine’s safety and the continent’s strategic security.
Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, who met with President Joe Biden in Washington on the 10th, expressed a similar position.
After meeting with Biden, Prime Minister Draghi emphasized that “at the same time we support Ukraine, we must also start peace talks.” did.
He asked, “We must not try to win. Victory is not defined. For Ukraine, victory is defeating the Russian invasion, but what does victory mean for other countries?”
As such, the current of major European countries that do not have direct borders with Russia, such as Poland or the Baltic States, is that ‘Ukraine’s defense must not be transformed into President Putin’s overwhelming victory over Russia’, the New York Times pointed out.
On the other hand, in the case of the United States, the current mood is that there is little expectation of a diplomatic solution, the New York Times pointed out.
“It is impossible to say with certainty that the battle of Donbas will end the war,” Abril Haines, director of the National Intelligence Service (DNI), told the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on the 10th. “President Putin is still trying to achieve goals beyond Donbas.” In other words, he predicted a prolonged war in Ukraine.
The New York Times noted that he did not mention any end-of-war scenarios such as a ceasefire, diplomacy, withdrawal of Russian troops, neutralization of Ukraine or security guarantees involving great powers.
“Putin will probably judge that Russia is more capable and willing to withstand challenges than its enemies,” Haines said at the hearing. “We expect the price spike to weaken as the situation worsens,” he warned.
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