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May 29, 2022
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Old Europe probes the ground for a compromise with Russia

In the photo: the flag of Ukraine against the background of the monument

In the photo: the flag of Ukraine against the background of the Motherland monument in the center of Kyiv, Ukraine (Photo: AP Photo / Efrem Lukatsky / TASS)

Germany, Italy and France are interested in the speedy end of hostilities, and Kyiv will have to take this into account, says a political observer for Newsweek magazine Daniel Depetris.

According to the analyst, Ukrainians have to put up with the possibility that fatigue from the Russian-Ukrainian conflict will hit the West. In his opinion, there may come a time when the West will become increasingly divided about the policy towards Ukraine and how the end result of what is happening should look like.

“While the US, UK, Poland and the Baltic states want to inflict a strategic defeat on Russia, Germany, Italy and France are more interested in a speedy cessation (of hostilities),” the author of the article writes.

He notes that recently Kyiv’s negotiating position has become tougher, which may be due to the Ukrainian government’s sense of confidence in victory and counting on the support of the West.

Zelensky may scoff at the idea of ​​a ceasefire, but as the fighting continues, he cannot ignore a scenario in which some Western leaders, who are now staunch supporters of the Ukrainian position, begin to reconsider their policies,” Depetris notes.

The analyst recalled the advice of the former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger Ukrainian government to think about a diplomatic solution to the conflict, including territorial concessions to Russia. At the same time, he emphasizes that Ukrainian politicians will have to make their own decisions regarding the possibility of negotiations and the conditions for saving the country.

“Right now, the answer seems to be no. But over time, the pendulum can swing in the direction of “yes,” the author of the article believes.

How right Mr. Depetris is, it is still difficult to say. Recently, foreign politicians and government officials have indeed become somewhat more sober in their view of the situation. Thus, the Italian government gave birth to a plan for a peaceful settlement in Ukraine, however, far from reality. Rome submitted proposals to the UN Secretary General António Guterres. But they forgot to transfer them to Russia.

“We can only focus on speculation, descriptions of this initiative that appear in the media. But what we read (if this is the case, of course) causes a feeling of regret about the understanding of the authors of this initiative of what is happening and about their knowledge of the subject, the history of this issue, ”said the head of the Russian Foreign Ministry Sergei Lavrov in an interview with RT Arabic. In his opinion, serious politicians cannot offer “this kind of thing.”

At the same time, the German Chancellor Olaf Scholz at the World Economic Forum in Davos, he said that the West would not accept peace imposed on Ukraine on someone else’s terms.

“There will be no imposed peace. Ukraine will not accept this, and neither will we,” he stressed.

And the head of the German Foreign Ministry Annalena Burbock now holds the Russian authorities also responsible for the rise in food and energy prices and hopes for the speedy adoption of the sixth package of sanctions against Russia. The head of the French Foreign Ministry also supports her in this. Catherine Colonna.

“We must strengthen support for Ukraine in the long term and in all areas: financial, economic, military and humanitarian. We must also adopt the sixth package of sanctions against Russia as soon as possible, which involves the gradual abandonment of Russian oil … ”- said the new Minister of Foreign Affairs of the republic.

At the same time, a professor at the Jan Kochanowski University Pavel Soroka believes that Germany seeks close relations with Russia and is not interested in the success of Ukraine: “Despite the fact that during the Cold War Germany was in NATO, and the Soviet Union was in the Warsaw Pact, there was a tendency between them to divide Europe among themselves. And that hasn’t changed today.”

In the foreign media, the rhetoric also began to change. So, Mary Dejevsky in an article for the Independent urges the West not to embellish the situation in favor of Kyiv. Such publications, although not often, nevertheless began to appear in Western newspapers and online media. More realistic stories and analytics appear on US and European TV channels.

Associate Professor at MGIMO, Director of the Center for European Information Nikolai Topornin notes that in the West there really are different points of view on the development of the situation in Ukraine.

– Europe should take into account its own interests, look at how life is changing in the new conditions of confrontation between Russia and Ukraine. Of course, many are dissatisfied with the fact that life is getting worse, habitual economic and business ties are being disrupted, inflation is growing, and there are difficulties with work. In addition, many Ukrainian refugees have appeared – this is also a certain socio-economic problem.

All this cannot but be expressed in the fact that certain political forces are beginning to look at the situation from a different angle. That is, they support Ukraine, but they also begin to think about what the conflict could turn into if it drags on for a very long time. There are estimates by some analysts who say that it can last a very long time – from several months to a year or more.

Many are beginning to think about how life will develop in the new conditions, there are fears that this may affect the quality of life in Europe and lead to serious economic consequences. They begin to consider options for ending the combat phase of the conflict.

“SP”: – How seriously can they affect?

— Don’t think that there is a unanimous opinion. In Europe, they are different, and so far this opinion is not dominant. There is stuffing in the media, they are watching what the reaction will be, assessments, analytics, but there is concern.

“SP”: – Can it lead to a revision of the policy towards Ukraine?

– So far, it is unlikely, now the political unity of Europe and the United States lies in the unconditional support of Ukraine in the confrontation with Russia. Further, they will talk about what kind of support is needed: heavy weapons, lethal weapons, just money or something else. They will say that support will depend on the behavior of Ukraine. There are also different views on sanctions.

As long as the position is unanimous, we need to support Ukraine, because there is a point of view that Russia will not stop and can go further: to Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and someone else. There are such fears, so for now they are completely on the side of Ukraine.

“SP”: – Why do relatively sound voices sound mainly in Germany, Italy, France, Hungary?

— It depends on the degree of integration of the economies, the supply of Russian energy resources. It is no secret that it is the powerful economic countries that are more dependent: Germany, France, Italy. Germany’s dependence on gas is very high, and it will not be possible to replace Russian gas so easily. Scholz said more than once that this is not a matter of one day or even one year, it will take several years and it is not yet clear how this will develop.

They have to reckon with this dependence, and they understand that other countries, including the United States, will put pressure on them to increase sanctions pressure. They will try to smooth this pressure, and therefore they began to say that maybe it is necessary to go from some other angle, since it is unlikely that another change in the situation will occur at the front – now Russian troops dominate and take active steps.

So far, Ukraine is in deep defense, although they say that in a month and a half or two they may have the opportunity to go over to the counteroffensive, but all these hostilities can drag on for a very long time. They (some Western countries – OK.) I don’t want such uncertainty in relations with Russia: on the one hand, we must take into account the sanctions regime that is already in effect, companies leave and only interests in the energy sector remain. This puts them in a dependent position. On the other hand, they may well come out, saying that they are on the side of Russia.

They are generally afraid of escalation, because they believe that careless actions on the border of the European Union, provocations can lead to the involvement of these countries in hostilities. They want to stop everything, stop the conflict, its possible development into a global confrontation. They are afraid of this, and therefore they take a more accurate, more cautious position. She probably does not like the Baltics, Poland, who are afraid of Russia, so they take a tougher position.

As a result, politicians will make a decision based on their positions, but they will take into account the different points of view that are expressed, so the discussion, in my opinion, is important and necessary. What will come out of it, we’ll see. So far, I do not expect a fundamental change in the position of the Western European countries.

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