Ukraine: diplomacy at a standstill

Ukraine: diplomacy at a standstill

Lhe announcement by Russia of the impending expulsion of dozens of Spanish, French and Italian diplomats on May 18 confirms that, in the conflict sparked by Moscow in Ukraine, the time is for war, not diplomacy. Presented as a response to the expulsions of Russian personnel accused of engaging in espionage activities by these same European countries from the first hours of the attack launched by Russia, these retaliatory measures belong to the symbolic arsenal of tensions. kyiv had announced the day before that the negotiations initiated by the two countries had also been suspended sine die for lack of significant prospects.

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The time is all the more for war as the situation on the various Ukrainian fronts can only reinforce both the attacked and the aggressor in their desire to achieve a balance of power that is more favorable to them. The admirable Ukrainian combativeness has not only thwarted the main Russian offensive against kyiv, but it has also made it possible in recent days to loosen the grip on the city of Kharkiv, on the border with Russia.

The reorganization of Russian forces after the pitiful withdrawal from the outskirts of the Ukrainian capital has so far not been followed by the dreaded massive assault on the regions of Donbass, which still escape the rule of the occupier. At the end of a terrible siege, Russia, on the other hand, can claim victory in the ruins of Mariupol and also maintain the project of extending its offensive along the shores of the Black Sea, perhaps even to to separatist Transnistria, in Moldova.

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This rebalancing of forces constitutes in France the most scathing disavowal to the sovereignists of all persuasions who opposed military aid to Ukraine, provided today massively by the United States and by the main countries of the European Union. , on the grounds that it would unnecessarily prolong the fighting. Anyone who professes his support for the country under attack must admit that his interests will be much better defended if he can fight with the necessary means.

An unambiguous line

So far, Ukraine’s allies have shown almost unwavering unity. Admittedly, nuances in the rhetoric used on both sides of the Atlantic have fueled speculation about possible divisions, particularly about the objectives of a war unfortunately destined to continue. However, the G7 foreign ministers evacuated them on May 14 with a clear roadmap.

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By committing to ” never “ to acknowledge “the borders that Russia has tried to alter by means of military aggression” and reiterating their “commitment to support the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, especially in Crimea”, they drew an unambiguous line. Nothing concerning the attacked country will ever be considered without it. The mention of the peninsula unilaterally annexed by Russia in 2014 also reflects the course taken by the war, although it is probably not a military objective as it stands.

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At the end of almost three months of a conflict whose devastating effects are felt throughout the world, there is no alternative. We must continue to support Ukraine, and first of all militarily, so that it finds itself in the best of positions when the time for diplomacy finally returns.

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