Home Politics Monitor The press review: “Putin has already lost the war”, really?​
Politics Monitor

The press review: “Putin has already lost the war”, really?​

The Russian special military operation enters its third year this Saturday. Decisive year, judges the press. For different reasons. Some already think they see this as Putin’s defeat. Others, more pessimistic, judge that at best, Ukraine will have to negotiate with Russia.

A third year of war will begin this Saturday. Le Figaro takes up the challenges that lie ahead for Ukraine. The pressure, of course from the Russian army which does not weaken. The slow exhaustion – material and human – of the Ukrainian army. And this form of weariness which is winning over the West, always wondering about the form and intensity that support for Ukraine should take.

However, we must remind the French daily that it is “the destiny of Europe which is being played out at the moment.” If the formula seems pompous, let us remember this speech by Vladimir Putin castigating “our degenerate values.” In view of this memory, supporting Ukraine is nothing other than saving Europe. Why then is defeatism gaining ground in Europe?

Because of recent Russian successes on the front? Because of the failure of the Ukrainian counter-offensive? Not so fast, adds the daily. We have not done everything – not by far – to support Ukraine. On average, Olivier Hanrion recalled in his European column, member states devoted less than one percent of GDP to supporting Ukraine. Certainly, Western military support is considerable but it is as late as it is insufficient, when the DIYers of the Kiev army need two Leopard tanks to manage to have one in working order.

Late? It is an understatement to say it when Le Monde recalls that the war in Ukraine began not with the shock of the morning of February 24, 2022, but in 2014. During the first Russian invasion of Crimea. The war of invasion, or large-scale war launched two years ago now, is therefore only an avatar of the aggression unleashed by Moscow ten years earlier.

However, if we accept this reading of a long-term war in Ukraine, how can we still think about the Russian victory? This is the analysis from the New York Times.

“Why Putin has already lost this war?” asks the daily.

Since a war – beyond an outbreak of violence – can be seen as a means of pursuing one’s policies (Carl von Clausewitz), let us observe Putin’s political objectives. Bring Ukraine, a sister country, back into the Russian fold? Whatever the outcome of the current conflict, Ukraine will no longer be a sister of Russia, but an adopted daughter of Europe. Implied, if the fundamental goal pursued by the Kremlin was to keep Ukraine in the Russian orbit – politically, culturally, economically. The outbreak of violence which fell on the Ukrainian populations has definitively turned them away from Moscow, believes the daily, causing – in this same movement of aggression – the birth or rebirth of Ukrainian nationalism based on aspirations of freedom. The result is far removed from the desired goal, to say the least. Especially since beyond Ukraine, it is Europe and NATO that are also waking up from their long military torpor.

In Le monde, we read that “Europeans have today understood that Russia constitutes a lasting and real threat to their security.” And Zaki Laïdi, the special advisor to the head of European diplomacy Josep Borel, draws several lessons from this. This war, we read, revealed the exceptional quality of European military equipment with the exception of intelligence. So much the better. Because the conclusion is darker… Regardless of the party of whoever sits in the White House, the European Union will have to admit that it must be the main guarantor of its security. To achieve this, the obstacles to overcome are colossal. Starting by finding a way to allow Ukraine to establish a favorable balance of power against Russia, if not to beat it.

This article is originally published on rtbf.be

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