Ukraine: Europe, between the “little war” and the “big war” | International
Will the Kremlin expand its military presence in Ukraine in the name of irrevocable Russian interests? Trying to answer the question, the Western administrations analyze the routes of hypothetical military deployments from the Russian border. Possible troop movements can be elements to encourage dialogue between US President Joe Biden and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin. Arrows on maps can also advance more intense war chapters. Or both at the same time.
With faltering virulence, war has been a reality in Ukraine since 2014, when Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula and supported separatists from the Lugansk and Donetsk regions. What is at stake today is the passage to a more dangerous qualitative stage, where there would be a head-on clash between Moscow’s territorial ambitions, on the one hand, and Kiev’s ability to defend the state. which emerged 30 years ago.
The future will depend on how well the red lines that the leaders of Russia, Ukraine, the United States and Europe draw for themselves and attempt to impose on others come together. Actors of an electrifying card game, the politicians involved view the game in different ways. Due to his life experience and his training as an officer in the State Security Service (KGB) of the USSR, Putin seems most accustomed to taking risks (at conveniently calculated times and taking advantage of mistakes others) to solve tasks that interest him. Its behavior will depend on how it perceives the relationship between the costs (human, economic, political) and the benefits (security, authority, territory), resulting from further expansion.
Although the Donbass region has been divided by trenches for almost eight years, significant changes have taken place over time, including the metamorphosis of Belarusian leader Alexandr Lukashenko, who – in the name of his own survival as lord anachronistic feudal – rose from emerging as a mediator and host of the pretenders’ dialogue to become the first ally of the Russian annexation policy. In 2020, following the crackdown that followed the presidential elections in Belarus, Lukashenko lost his east-west leeway and recently accepted Putin’s invitation to visit Crimea and recognize this peninsula as a Russian asset.
The chances of peacefully reintegrating eastern Ukraine under Kiev control have been complicated, in part by the awkwardness of the Ukrainian leadership, who in 2017 isolated the separatist territories and practically threw the inhabitants of these regions into the arms of Russia. Moscow gave them a new perspective by distributing passports and thus making them a reason to legitimize a possible “defense of Russian citizens” in Ukraine.
Faced with the risks, the West must decide (not just with words) whether it considers Ukraine as one of its members (whether or not it is part of NATO) or sees it only as a space of discord in the face of a spiteful and militarist policy. Russia. Ukrainian leaders (with their good or bad management of the state) influence their Western colleagues, who can choose between getting deeply involved, sticking to rhetorical gestures, or looking elsewhere and being tempted by business with Russia. The Little Donbass War and the annexation of Crimea are also of particular value to leading observers like China and Turkey, who see Moscow’s politics through the prism of their own interests.
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With its sphere of influence in the Pacific as a benchmark, Beijing is benevolent to Russia in Crimea. Turkey, for its part, is seeking new leadership in the spaces of the former Ottoman Empire and its areas of influence, including Crimea, which was a we [territorio bajo un jefe tártaro] vassal of the Sultan, before Catherine II conquered the peninsula in 1783.
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