As Europeans stand solidly with Ukraine, Putin hopes to wear them down

New York, Oct 7 : To overcome any intimations of fraying support for Ukraine nearly 20 months into Russia???s invasion, Foreign Ministers of the European Union (EU) countries made a bold show of solidarity by meeting in Kiev on October 2. Josep Borrell, the foreign affairs head of the EU, said: ???This meeting should be understood as a clear commitment of the European Union to Ukraine and its continuous support in all dimensions.??? Waiting in the wings, Russia???s President Vladimir Putin appears to be betting that a prolonged war, a checkmated one, will wear down the West and erode support for Ukraine, giving his country the final victory. The much-vaunted Ukraine???s renewed counter-offensive starting in spring did not meet the expectations of the West and the stalemate continues giving Russia hope. And in the meanwhile, Putin also uses threats of a larger conflagration, including the prospects of a nuclear conflict. Just the day before the EU meeting, national elections tallies announced in bloc member Slovakia had given the top spot to a party that ran on a platform opposing Ukraine???s NATO membership, sending weapons to it, and sanctions on Russia. Although SMER, the party of former Prime Minister Robert Fico collected only 22.9 per cent of the votes and has yet to find a coalition partner to form a government, Slovakia promptly stopped weapon supplies to Ukraine. The pro-Ukraine Progressive Slovakia party was only about 5 per cent behind, blunting what the headlines projected. What sets Slovakia ??? and Hungary ??? apart is what is described as their authoritarian leadership that may have a natural inclination toward Putin,and goaded on by criticism from the rest of the West. Fico quit as Prime Minister in 2018 following massive protests following the killing of a journalist and the EU froze funds for Hungary citing President Viktor Orban???s rule of law violations. He in turn is now using unfreezing his country???s funds as a bargaining chip for approving some EU aid to Ukraine and considering its membership in the group. While these two countries are outliers, and there are degrees of pro-Kyiv sentiments with some like the small Baltic states registering high on the scale, the three top European economic powerhouses, Germany, Britain and France (along with the US) would finally determine the fate of support for Ukraine. The three countries are united in their support for Ukraine and there is no sign of a credible opposition to Ukraine. But there is divergence among the three, Germany being the most risk averse. Berlin split with the other two on giving Ukraine long-range missiles. Chancellor Olaf Scholz said the reason for refusing Ukraine its Taurus missiles was to ensure that there ???is no escalation of the war and that Germany does not become part of the conflict???. ???When a war lasts so long, these considerations can???t stop at once???, he said. France is sending Kiev its equivalent Scalp missile, and Britain the Storm Shadow missile. Despite such differences ??? Germany was earlier skittish about sending tanks, and France about fighter jets ??? they adhere to baseline assistance, military and civilian. They and the other larger economic nations like Italy, the Netherlands and Spain are what will matter for Ukraine and there is no serious challenge in those countries.. A potential weak point is the economy. A serious economic downturn with inflation attributable to the war could impact public opinion. (Arul Louis can be contacted atarul.l@ians.inand followed at @arulouis) /IANS


Indian American lawmakers push for India to align with US in Ukraine War
Washington, Oct 8 : Indian-American lawmakers have been divided on military assistance to Ukraine, but are somewhat united in calling upon India to al

War and sanctions have done little to weaken Putin s grip on Russia
New Delhi, Oct 8 : In the initial days after the mutiny of the Wagner mercenary group under its late leader Yevgeny Prigozhin in June this year, many

Washington s turmoil over Ukraine funding plays right into Putin s hands
New Delhi, Oct 7 : A Russian victory would not only empower President Vladimir Putin, who has repeatedly telegraphed his wishes to reconstitute the fo