Russia simply assumes that the US will continue to support Ukraine. This was said by the Russian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs. And, says Peter Wijninga, security expert at The Hague Center for Strategic Studies.
Especially since Russia is interested in ending support. Therefore, if Ukraine has made such a statement, he will soon understand it. “If you look at it purely militarily, Russia is wise to assume that support will continue,” Wijninga thinks. ‘Ultimately you have to prepare for the worst-case scenario – it’s extended or perhaps extended support. Everything is bad news for Russia.’
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But Wijninga sees the fact that these concerns are significantly expressed. Politically, it certainly counts, but what do you think you’re going to achieve by saying that?, he continues. ‘Except to acknowledge that Russia will now take into account the continuation of US support.’
Wijninga could not say why the Russians agreed to this, perhaps wanting to sow doubts about the need for Moscow support. “It’s certainly true that there are obvious cracks in American support for Ukraine,” he says. For example, he mentions the openly skeptical US Congress, and Poland, which is throwing its weight behind it. Slovakia has even elected a party that is very pro-Russian and anti-Ukrainian.
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The precise effect of the cracks remains to be seen, but if plans for Ukraine are identified within the EU, some member states could veto those packages. “Think about Hungary, maybe now about Slovakia,” Wijninga concludes. ‘Poland is also difficult. So a European project can easily be destroyed. Of course, it will always be up to Europe to fill the void left if the Americans withdraw their support.’
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