kyiv allies fear being designated by Russia as “cobelligenrants”.
The green light barely given to the sending of Leopard 2 tanks in Ukraine, Olaf Scholz has redoubled caution to justify its decision, taken after several months of procrastination. “We do what is necessary and possible to support Ukraine, but at the same time we prevent an escalation of war, towards a war between Russia and NATO,” said the German Chancellor in front of the Bundestag, Wednesday 25 January. The Russian ambassador to Berlin immediately pointed out an “extremely dangerous decision”, revealing, of a desire for “permanent escalation” of Germany and the allies of kyiv. Thursday morning, the Kremlin in turn denounced “the direct commitment” of the West in the conflict.
The Chancellor’s double concern – support Ukraine and avoid a direct conflict with Russia – is emblematic of the crest line that Westerners have been trying to follow since the start of the Russian invasion, almost a year ago. Arming Ukraine in heavy tanks is first of all, in their eyes, allowing him to resist if Russia launches new attacks after a possible additional mobilization in the coming weeks. It is also a question of helping kyiv to regain as much as possible the lost territories, in the hope, still distant, of chasing the Russian army of the country, or, at least, of being in a position of force in the Hypothesis of a negotiation.
To date, the time is undoubtedly the fighting, while winter has not completely frozen the front line and the Ukrainians fear, with their allies, a new Russian offensive before the end of winter or spring. Neither Vladimir Putin nor Volodymyr Zelensky also want to hear about a ceasefire. Such a prospect would be an admission of failure for the Russian president, who demanded a pure and simple surrender from Ukraine after launching his “special operation”. For the Ukrainian leader, a judgment of hostilities would in fact give the advantage to the Russian aggressor, by sanctuarizing his territorial gains, while depriving Ukraine of the possibility of continuing its counter-offensives in the Donbass, even in Crimea.
fear of a gear
“Negotiations are seen in both camp as a means of preparing the next blow,” observes Thomas Gomart, the director of the French Institute of International Relations, to warn against any precipitation in the matter. A way to respond to those who, like the former Paris deputy Pierre Lellouche, consider that it is time to go towards a negotiated “exit of the crisis”, in order to avoid a more deadly gear, even a nuclear confrontation.
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