Who Benefits From EU Dragging on Ukraine Conflict With Arms Supplies and Anti-Russia Sanctions?
17:38 GMT 14.03.2022 (Updated: 11:44 GMT 09.02.2023)
© REUTERS / VALENTYN OGIRENKOLithuania's military aid including Stinger anti-aircraft missiles, delivered as part of the security support package for Ukraine, is unloaded from a ?17 Globemaster III plane at the Boryspil International Airport outside Kyiv, Ukraine, February 13, 2022. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko
© REUTERS / VALENTYN OGIRENKO
Sanctions against Russia and the arms supplies to Kiev will not solve the current crisis, while Ukraine's guaranteed neutrality would be a reasonable solution, argued Sahra Wagenknecht, a member of the Bundestag for The Left, in her latest interview with Die Welt. Could Berlin become a responsible peace broker?
"The German government under Chancellor Scholz is more subservient to Washington than the Merkel government," says Gilbert Doctorow, an international relations and Russian affairs analyst. "As a US vassal, Germany is dancing to the melody coming from Washington which is to extend the Ukraine-Russia war as long as possible in order to inflict maximum economic and political damage on Russia in the hope of precipitating regime change. The interests and welfare of the Ukrainian people count for nothing. For Germany, as for the United States, all the sympathy to the suffering refugees from Ukraine is all Public Relations. The reality is that for Scholz the Ukrainians are just cannon fodder."
Sahra Wagenknecht, a member of the Bundestag for The Left, told Die Welt on Monday that Russia has long warned the West against providing Ukraine with offensive weapons and integrating the country into NATO. "After all, 2,000 US soldiers were already in Ukraine, and NATO maneuvers were taking place on its territory," the leftist politician stressed.
She noted that the weapons delivered by NATO member states to the Ukrainian leadership "are prolonging the war, but they will not result in Ukraine winning it." The promise of NATO membership did not help Ukraine either, Wagenknecht remarked.
Nevertheless, it's highly unlikely that the German Left could stop Berlin's armament of Ukraine, says Dr. Christian Blex, an AfD lawmaker, state parliament of North Rhine-Westphalia. Wagenknecht's party, Die Linke, largely supports the federal government which has recently resorted to Cold War rhetoric, according to the politician.
"My party, the Alternative for Germany, is the only exception here," Blex notes. "The AfD parliamentary group of the Bundestag passed a position paper this week in which we clearly speak out against arms deliveries in war zones."
© REUTERS / @BACKANDALIVESmoke rises amid damaged buildings following an attack on the Yavorov military base, in Yavorov, Lvov Oblast, Ukraine, March 13, 2022 in this picture obtained from social media. @BackAndAlive/via REUTERS THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. MANDATORY CREDIT. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES.
Smoke rises amid damaged buildings following an attack on the Yavorov military base, in Yavorov, Lvov Oblast, Ukraine, March 13, 2022 in this picture obtained from social media. @BackAndAlive/via REUTERS THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. MANDATORY CREDIT. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES.
© REUTERS / @BACKANDALIVE
Is West Moving Closer to Participation in Conflict?
Speaking to Die Welt, Sahra Wagenknecht warned against NATO's involvement in the Ukraine conflict, stressing that it would end up in Europe's becoming "a nuclear battlefield." The European countries and the United States previously made it clear that there will be no NATO boots on the ground or a no-fly zone over Ukraine since it would escalate tensions with Russia.
French politician Marine Le Pen, the President of the National Rally, said that arms supplies to Kiev by the West verge on participation in the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.
"By sending weapons to Ukraine and cheer-leading the Ukrainian military, the European Union is knowingly extending the torment of that nation all for the sake of doing damage to Russia," says Doctorow, adding that Le Pen had nailed it.
However, it appears that Russia's 13 March missile attack on the training and logistical Yavorov base near Lviv has sent a powerful message to the West, according to Doctorow.
The Yavorov base, a NATO training centre, was used by foreign mercenaries arriving in Ukraine. Since the start of the Russian operation, the Ministry of Defence Defence (MoD), has warned that foreign mercenaries would be treated as criminals, not POWs, while weapons deliveries from the West to Ukraine would be considered as legitimate targets. BuzzFeed has reported, citing the Ukrainian military, that "as many as 1,000 foreign fighters were training at the base at the time of the attack."
The Russian military announced on 13 February that up to 180 foreign mercenaries and a large consignment of foreign weapons were destroyed in the strike against the training centres in Western Ukraine. The attack has reportedly prompted Kiev to suspend the recruitment of volunteers for the International Legion of Territorial Defense of Ukraine.
The Russian MoD earlier revealed that mercenaries in Ukraine commit sabotage and raids on Russian military equipment and aircraft. According to the ministry, foreign mercenaries carried out the assaults on Russian positions and assets using US-made anti-tank systems Javelin, the UK-made Next Generation Light Anti-tank Weapon (NLAW) and man-portable anti-aircraft missile systems Stinger.
© AP Photo / Efrem LukatskyUkrainian soldier armed with US Javelin ride along Khreshchatyk Street, during a military parade to celebrate Independence Day in Kiev, Ukraine. File photo
Ukrainian soldier armed with US Javelin ride along Khreshchatyk Street, during a military parade to celebrate Independence Day in Kiev, Ukraine. File photo
© AP Photo / Efrem Lukatsky
EU Playing Into US Hands at Its Own Expense
The EU appears unwilling to de-escalate, according to Dr. Christian Blex: "The member states of the EU have expressed themselves clearly and uniformly here," he says. "There are always new demands for sanctions against Russia."
The European Union detailed on 11 March some of the new sanctions it will impose on Russia in the coming days, according to the Wall Street Journal. In particular, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced that in addition to revoking Russia’s benefits as a World Trade Organisation (WTO) member and fresh measures against Russian elites close to the Kremlin, the EU will ban the export of luxury goods to Russia.
An EU source told Reuters on 14 March that European Union states are set to adopt new sanctions against Russia's oil majors Rosneft, Transneft and Gazprom Neft, but will continue to buy oil from them.
The Western sanctions against Russia have already backfired on North America and Western Europe by sending oil and gas prices up which threatens to accelerate soaring inflation and upend the post-COVID economic recovery, according to observers.
In doing this the EU is playing into the hands of Washington at the expense of national interests of the bloc member states, argues Blex.
"For the United States, the main concern here is probably maintaining its global supremacy," says the German politician. "The US and thus also NATO have never really taken care of Russia's security interests in recent years. On the contrary, the USA has continuously expanded its military influence eastwards. A common European security architecture on an equal footing with Russia has never been a goal of US policy… The EU, on the other hand, has no clear goals of its own. The US, on the other hand, is benefiting from a split in Europe and the resulting increased dependence of the EU countries on them."
As for Ukraine's NATO and EU aspirations, they were "unactionable" from the start, says Doctorow. It was nothing but propaganda "aimed at spreading delusional thinking in the Kiev regime that it could take on Russia at will and expect Western military support."
"These promises and the reality of NATO installations and personnel being set up in Ukraine were the underlying causes that motivated the Kremlin to act militarily to end the existential threat arising on its southwestern border," Doctorow concludes.