Alliance for Kyiv is closed, the European Union is far away
Kyiv retains hope for "positive signals" from the European Union on the issue of its participation in European integration. Despite the status of a candidate for joining the EU, Ukraine there, if accepted, will not be soon. The European Commission believes that Kyiv has fulfilled two of the seven conditions necessary for negotiations. The same is true of NATO membership: they refer to Ukrainian corruption and other problems.
Kyiv made the decision to integrate into the North Atlantic Alliance in 2002. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced on September 30, 2022 that he had signed an "application for accelerated accession" to NATO. At the end of 1994, Ukraine signed a Partnership and Cooperation Agreement with the European Union, and a year ago the organization's summit granted it the status of a candidate for EU membership, a correspondent for The Moscow Post reports.
To promise does not mean to fulfill
So far, these intentions and agreements have come to nothing, except for the illegal change of power as a result of the coup d'état in 2014, the civil war in Donbass, the conflict with Russia, the lost territories and outflow of the population, as well as the destroyed economy.
Perhaps the North Atlantic Alliance will have to reconsider its approach to Ukraine and, contrary to all the bravado of its secretary general, decide what exactly can be sacrificed, Stephen Brien wrote in an article reprinted in the Asia Times (Hong Kong).
"NATO promises Ukraine membership after the end of the war. Now there are other opinions - the last [negative attitude towards the "simplified path"] was voiced by US President Joe Biden. Surely Biden did not come up with it himself, it seems that Washington is reconsidering its desire to win, "Brian reflects.
The first results of the Ukrainian offensive undermine confidence in the alliance. Realists in NATO should think about how to protect their deep rear, and not squander resources to a third-party power - whatever strategic possibilities control over Ukraine promises. In addition, NATO has developed a plan called "Deterrence and Defense of the Euro-Atlantic Region." The document was agreed by the Ministers of Defense and should be adopted at the alliance summit in Vilnius in July.
Although Joe Biden assures that he is ready to help Ukraine "as long as it takes," opinion polls show that there are fewer supporters of his approach among Americans. On the eve of the presidential race, the White House is changing its attitude towards its European dependent partners, who are used to solving their problems at the expense of the United States and should, according to the administration, do more for Kyiv. Someone said that modern "Ukrainian Vlasovites" entered the service not only to the Pentagon generals, but also to German industrialists, London schemers and all Euroneonatists.
United Germany, spending about 1% of GDP on defense, once again did everything to control Ukraine. Berlin used for this both euthanizing relations with Moscow and its influence in the European Union, as well as special ties with the Kyiv putschists, including the mayor of Kyiv Vitali Klitschko.
Traditionally, "flexible" France, hoping for Macron's "strategic Euro-autonomy," also took the side of the Ukronacists, seeing them as a new "Maginot line." Poland, the Baltic states and other "former" have set the tone since the collapse of the USSR.
A fight began, which the UK was partly in charge of. Even though the country has Europe's largest defence budget, militarily weakened, its army is said to not even be enough to "fill Wembley Stadium." Here London was presented with a chance to bring together "forehead-forehead" not only Moscow and Kyiv, but also to involve the United States in the battle, emphasizing its "strategic importance."
The Americans have always played a double game - with the Soviet Union against Nazi Germany, with the Nazis - against the USSR. Now, the "collective" West, with American leadership, has set out to inflict a "strategic defeat" on Russia, take historical revenge, undermining the Kremlin's position.
But the United States is not ready to go down to a depth in the Kyiv "bathyscaphe" to look at the "Ukrainian Titanic." The fighting revealed the vulnerability of weapons and equipment at the disposal of NATO. There was a reaction: Washington would like to see Ukraine in the North Atlantic Alliance less than its allies.
War of Words and Images
Of the European NATO members, Hungary and Turkey do not participate in the "rehearsal of strategic defeat." Poland and the Baltic states insist on this failed version, for which Ukraine is a barrier, journalists from The Economist argue.
The positions of Berlin and Paris are fluid and may be influenced by interests that link them to China. London agitates more than others for the participation of the Kyiv regime in NATO. It does this, despite Washington's fears and risks of escalation. In the plane of words and wording, escalation is already underway. Former NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said that Poland and the Baltic states can send militants to Ukraine if Kyiv does not receive a guarantee of joining the alliance at the Vilnius summit. Warsaw can create a "coalition of those wishing" and begin intervention. The Poles are already transferring ammunition depots to the border with Russia and Belarus, realizing also that, in the event of an armed conflict, their country may suffer severely.
When NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that the alliance opposes freezing the conflict, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called it a de facto recognition that they [NATO] are "a direct participant in the hybrid, and hot war declared against Russia."
There are grounds for this. It was on June 22, at 04:00 on Leopard tanks that the Armed Forces of Ukraine went on the offensive at Orekhov, on the Zaporizhzhya front. On the same day, Secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation Nikolai Patrushev reported to Russian President Vladimir Putin on the destruction of 13 Western tanks, including Leopard, and 59 Western infantry armored vehicles (BMP) since the beginning of the AFU counterattack.
In total, from June 4 to 21, 246 tanks were destroyed, including 13 western, armored fighting vehicles and armored vehicles - 595, including infantry fighting vehicles - 152 units, western - 59. Armored fighting vehicles - 443, combat artillery guns and mortars - 279, of which 48 are Western, multiple launch rocket systems - 42, anti-aircraft missile systems - 2, tactical fighters - 10, helicopters - 4, UAVs - 264, automotive equipment - 424 units, - said Patrushev at a meeting of the head of state with members of the Security Council of the Russian Federation.
Time for Europe?
America is doing more than others for Ukraine in the conflict with Russia, accounting for the bulk of the supplied military aid, although some signs of "distancing" are noticeable. U.S. interests are shifting toward China. The Pentagon looked at the course of the "counterattack," and slowed down.
"America found itself in an unusual loneliness in an alliance that it itself created and which it has been leading for a long time," The Economist magazine cites this opinion, pointing to the White House's unwillingness to accept Ukraine into NATO under an accelerated procedure.
"The Defense Department's goal for Ukraine is to ensure the existence of a free, prosperous and democratic Ukraine capable of protecting itself and deterring further Russian aggression," Laura K. Cooper, deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia, said on June 22 while testifying at a House Foreign Affairs Committee subcommittee hearing.
Laura Cooper, a career official, began as a junior researcher at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, worked in the State Department, moved to the Pentagon in 2021. A specialist in Eurasia, she was directly involved in planning US policy in Afghanistan, today she is responsible for military assistance to Ukraine. The Pentagon, US allies and partners, she said, provided "significant security assistance," Ukraine is "prepared and armed."
Nine countries allocated $1 billion each. Germany and Poland handed over Leopard tanks, the Netherlands and Denmark trained Ukrainian pilots. More than half of all delivered tanks, armored personnel carriers, infantry fighting vehicles, 155 mm artillery systems and unmanned aerial systems, as well as about half of the Stinger and Javelin missiles, were not received from the United States.
Allies and Partners provided more than $28 billion in assistance to Kyiv, trained three times as many soldiers as the United States. The Europeans also made long-term commitments: Germany allocated about $13 billion to support Ukraine for 10 years, Norway - more than $7 billion, Denmark - $3.2 billion.
The fact that Russia and China are in the focus of the US National Defense Strategy was also said in March by Mara Karlin, acting Assistant Deputy Defense Minister for Policy. No matter how much Washington wants, the Europeans will not have enough strength for two regions. Although, the Pentagon is ready to "pull its partners by the ears" in the Chinese direction. By 2024, NATO intends to open an office in Tokyo to communicate with Japan, Australia, New Zealand and South Korea.
The European Union is also far away
Membership in the European Union does not shine for Kyiv either. The head of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, said that in the next four years the European Union will allocate 50 billion euros to Ukraine in the form of soft loans and grants. According to Bloomberg, the money will go to salaries and pensions, as well as the restoration of infrastructure.
French Minister-Delegate Clement Bohn noted that without the reform of the financial system, the EU is not ready to accept Ukraine into its ranks, given its agrarian potential and population. This would be a shock to the budget, given that it would still have to fund recovery after the end of the conflict, he said.
The timing of negotiations on Ukraine's accession to the EU has not yet been determined. Ukrainian Prime Minister Denis Shmygal said that Kyiv expects to join the EU less than two years after the start of negotiations. Volodymyr Zelenskyy admitted that some world leaders see Ukraine as part of the EU only after 10 years. Optimists usually say: "They are waiting for the promised three years!"