All possible weaponry for Ukraine and sanctions “without taboos” against Russia. Faced with the warlike escalation of the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, and his refusal to put an end to the invasion, the European Union (EU) and the United States harden the message and the measures.
Europeans and NATO allies, however, tread carefully for fear of a Russian retort. And setting a limit on its aid to the Kiev government: there will be no direct military intervention, as it could cause a direct clash between nuclear powers.
Moscow hints that the line is not so clear: Putin has called the sanctions “something akin to a declaration of war,” and his deputy foreign minister, Sergei Ryabkov, has designated Western arms supplies as a “legitimate target.” ”, according to various Russian news agencies.
“We are going to continue supplying weapons, as many as we can,” Josep Borrell, high representative of the European Union (EU) for common foreign and security policy, told EL PAÍS this Saturday in Antalya (Turkey). And he added: “We will continue to put pressure on Russia. Yesterday [por el viernes] another package of sanctions was adopted. And the things that can be done will continue to be done: arm Ukraine and sanction Russia.”
Any hope that Putin would immediately accept a ceasefire or rectify it dissipated during the “frank and difficult” call, according to the Elysee, which the Russian president held the same day with his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, and with the foreign minister. German, Olaf Scholz.
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”Have we deduced a will from Mr. Putin to end the war? The answer is no”, summed up after the hour and a half conversation, a source from the Elysée Palace who requested anonymity. “The consequence is,” added the source, “that we are going to increase the cost of the war for him and we will adopt new sanctions measures.”
The EU, at a summit on Thursday and Friday in Versailles to prepare for a new era under the Russian threat, approved more sanctions in coordination with the US and the G-7, with Macron declaring that “there are no limits, there are no taboos”. ” regarding the new punitive measures that the Europeans and Western partners will impose on Russia if Putin maintains the aggression. At the same time, Borrell announced in Versailles that the contribution to Ukraine in the form of military equipment and weapons will be doubled to 1 billion euros.
European aid complements that of the United States. The White House announced on Saturday a shipment of weapons for the defense of Ukraine valued at 200 million dollars, just over 183 million euros. The package includes Javelin anti-tank missiles and Stinger anti-aircraft missiles, and adds to the $350 million worth of weapons shipment that the Biden administration approved last month. Washington spent 1.2 billion in the last year on arming the Ukrainian army.
According The New York Times, the missiles belong to the military arsenals that the United States has in Europe. They are first shipped by air to countries bordering Ukraine, such as Poland or Romania, from where they will travel to their final destination by road. In these arms shipments, Washington has operated in concert with NATO since the war began three weeks ago.
Geostrategic analysts consider that the reinforcement of the Ukrainian arsenals by the allies is being crucial to slow down the Russian invasion, which was expected to be lightning and which for days has seemed frozen at the gates of Kiev, the capital. “Without this military aid in arms, Ukraine could hardly have continued to resist,” confirmed Borrell.
The Western hope is that the combination of massive sanctions on Russia and arms aid to Ukraine will drive up the costs of the invasion to unbearable levels for Putin. And lead him to reconsider his position and accept a ceasefire and a negotiation with Kiev
“We want to make it clear that [Putin] he can choose, and he must make the right choice,” said the aforementioned French source. “The good choice is that of diplomacy and diplomacy is not done with a gun to the temple.”
During the call with Macron and Scholz, Putin accused Kiev of “violations of international humanitarian law,” according to a Kremlin statement. Elíseo described this accusation as a “lie”.
Macron is, along with Scholz, one of the few Western leaders with access to Putin. So far, efforts have been unsuccessful. But Paris considers that the dialogue leaves an open door for diplomacy if Putin reconsiders his position, and in any case allows direct evaluation of his words and promises.
“The objective of the President of the Republic, in agreement with European and international partners, is to resort to all the instruments of diplomacy to avoid the worst,” said the Elysee source. “Among the worst, there is also the use of illegal weapons, and scenarios such as the destruction of cities and violence against civilians.”
Western doctrine is summed up in total support for Ukraine, but without participating in the war with its own military. Hence NATO’s refusal to establish the no-fly zone requested by the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky: maintaining it would put allied planes in the situation of having to shoot down Russian planes that violated it.
The fear is the direct confrontation between countries equipped with the atomic bomb, an unprecedented situation between world powers and unpredictable consequences. The complex application of this doctrine explains the diplomatic-military imbroglio, this week, between the US and Poland, a border ally with Ukraine and with the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad.
Poland offered to give up its 30 or so Soviet-made fighters for use against Russia by Ukrainian pilots familiar with their use. The plan, which planned to send the planes from a US base in Germany, ran into opposition from the Pentagon, which considered that the gesture could lead to an unwanted escalation of the conflict.
That in Moscow a deputy foreign minister has designated arms supplies as a “legitimate objective” does not change the calculations of France and Europe, according to the Elysee. In a meeting with the press, Pentagon sources explained that Russia had not yet attacked those previous shipments, as its Army was busy on other fronts of the war.
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