“Europe is now closer to war than it has been since the breakup of the former Yugoslavia.”
The warning is from senior diplomats in European Union With whom I just spoke informally about the current tensions with Moscow, regarding its massive military unit on the border with Ukraine.
The mood in Brussels is tense. There is a real fear that Europe could be headed for the worst security crisis in decades.
But the concern is not entirely centered on the possibility of a long and protracted ground war with Russia almost Ukraine.
Few here believe that Moscow has the military might, regardless of money, or popular domestic support for it.
true that European Union The Kremlin warns of “serious consequences” if… Russia Doing military action nearby Ukraine. Germany’s new foreign minister, Annalena Barbock, was in Kiev and Moscow to say so on Monday.
Sweden deployed hundreds of troops over the weekend to the strategically important island of Gotland in the Baltic Sea. Denmark strengthened its presence in the region a few days ago.
Rising tensions have also reignited the debate in Finland and Sweden over whether they should now join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
But the main concern in the West – Washington, NATO, the United Kingdom and European Union The probability of a conventional war with . is reduced UkraineAnd, much more, the possibility that Moscow is trying to divide and destabilize Europe – upsetting the continental balance of power in favor of the Kremlin.
Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki told me late last year that the West needed to “wake up from its geopolitical slumber” regarding Moscow’s intentions.
other countries of European Union They will say they have woken up now – and they smell very strong coffee.
But, as is often the case when it comes to foreign policy, the leaders of the European bloc are far from united on what action plan to adopt.
Moscow denies – despite the significant increase in the presence of its forces on the border with Ukraine Who is planning a military invasion?
But it did provide NATO with a list of security requirements. – Strongly blaming the military alliance for “undermining regional security”, Russian President Vladimir Putin He insists, among other things, that NATO ban Ukraine And other former Soviet countries from becoming members of the organization.
NATO categorically rejected the demand, and during the past week three summits were held between them Russia And the Western allies failed to reach a common denominator.
what Russian President Vladimir Putin Plans to do then is unclear. But the West thinks that the Kremlin has invested too much in its public maneuvering on Ukraine To back off now, wave hands.
Biden vows ‘disaster for Russia’ if he invades Ukraine
US President’s government, Joe Biden, eagerly waiting for a strong position of European Union On possible sanctions, depending on the Moscow Action Plan: a military incursion into Ukrainecyberattacks, disinformation campaigns, or – as is most likely believed – a variety of mixed attacks.
optimists European Union The bloc believes it will agree to a series of possible sanctions by January 24, at the next meeting of foreign ministers. But this is far from a guarantee.
several countries in European Union They are hesitant about the cost of potential penalties on their savings. Brussels usually discusses burden-sharing, but the outcome of these negotiations may not be on everyone’s level.
There is also widespread concern in countries European Union on gas supply Russia. Especially with the already high prices for European families this winter.
Washington says it is looking at ways to reduce the impact on energy supplies.
And you want to speed up European Union To agree on a firm stance on sanctions – knowing full well that in foreign policy, consent must be unanimous among member states.
If the post-Brexit relations between the UK and European Union It was easier, and now it is expected that there will be plenty of diplomatic relations between London, Berlin and Paris to compare and discuss ideas, and possibly agree on a joint plan of action.
Diplomats in Brussels describe, somewhat maliciously, the UK government as “potentially so involved in domestic political scandals that it makes geopolitics a top priority at the moment”. But they openly acknowledge that the UK is fully involved in this issue. Russia–Ukraine within NATO.
On Monday, British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace announced that Britain is providing support Ukraine Short-range anti-tank missiles for self-defense. He said a small team of British forces would also provide training.
Wallace had previously warned Moscow that there would be “consequences” for any Russian attack on Russia Ukraine.
He said Britain would “stand up to bullies”, regardless of the extent of the conflict.
Washington insists there is no time to lose. She says the Kremlin is studying the process of “pseudoscience” – “paving the way for the option to create a pretext for the invasion” – that is, blaming the Ukraine An attack carried out by Russian agents.
Putin and Biden spoke via video and phone call – Image: Reuters/BBC
The Kremlin dismissed Washington’s accusations as “baseless”.
But US officials say Moscow is preparing to repeat a pattern seen in 2014, when it accused Kiev of abuses before Kremlin-backed forces seized Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula.
The region is predominantly Russian-speaking. Then vote to comment on Russia In a referendum that Ukraine The West considers it illegal. Thousands of people died in the ensuing conflict in the east of the country Ukraine.
The West is preparing for what might happen now.
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