While the war in Ukraine has been going on for over a year, the question becomes increasingly important when war fatigue spreads in the West and countries will no longer be willing to fund the Ukrainian military. “Everyone is now actually waiting for the spring offensive and some kind of breakthrough out of this impasse,” says former Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal.
For example, the battle for the city of Bashmuet was fought for eight months without significant results, although the Russians seem to have finally managed to make a breakthrough there. According to foreign commentator Bernard Hammelburg, US President Joe Biden told Zelensky months before to abandon the city. “Stop it, it’s just a symbol, focus on the spring attack.”
Rosenthal calls this a “related point.” According to him, it is also very interesting what will happen if the spring offensive has already begun and the Ukrainian forces have approached the Crimea. Zelensky would have said he would be willing to negotiate over Crimea in that case, according to Rosenthal, a sign that the United States is putting pressure on him. Each of the world’s major powers, the United States on the one hand and China on the other, has drawn some red lines. I think America has declared that it will not go to war in Crimea, and China has asked Putin not to take any nuclear adventures.
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Despite this, foreign ministers of Western countries, including Wopke Hoekstra, have so far refused to comment on whether a compromise should be sought. “This is not what we are about, this is what Ukraine is about,” according to Hammelburg, is always the answer. “I think that’s a lame answer. Because either you show solidarity and say ‘guys, until the end,’ or you have to make concessions, and then you have to say it bluntly.”
According to Rosenthal, secretaries of state’s diplomatic language probably does not represent how background conversations take place in “silent diplomacy.” “On the American and Chinese sides. I recently heard a former chief of staff of the Bundeswehr say it would look like this: America and Russia are sitting opposite each other, Ukraine is there and can take part in the discussion, and Europe is pushing.
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Europe will then at least pay for reconstruction, Rosenthal says, and the longer the war drags on, the greater the pressure from America to increase military spending and support Ukraine.
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