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Ukraine is a test for the West and the ‘non-Western’

The G7 foreign ministers of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the United States, as well as the EU’s High Representative, have stated that they are “united in condemning Russia’s continued taking actions to undermine Ukraine’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence ”.

Before the Berlin Wall fell and the Soviet Union disintegrated two years later, the Black Sea It was an almost entirely Soviet-controlled body of water, shared only with Turkey, thus becoming the center of the divide between East and West.

At the time I wrote an editorial in the autumn 2014 edition of the Journal of Geostrategic Maritime, Crimea was occupied by the Russian army and military exercises involved 150,000 people on the border. Ukraine (40,000 people on March 30, 2014), seen as a direct response to the new Western-friendly government in Kiev after signing the Association Agreement with the EU on March 21, 2014, a The move comes shortly after the pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych fled Ukraine after the EuroMaidan Revolution earlier that year.

Seven years later, Ukraine is currently accusing the Kremlin of mass dispatching 80,000 troops on its eastern border and in Crimea. According to Kiev, there are 28,000 separatist fighters and more than 2,000 Russian advisors and guides in the territory they control.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky tweeted on April 8 that since the ceasefire on July 27, 2020, “28 militants have been killed by shelling in Donbass (eastern Ukraine), 24 of them. in this year. Since March 26 alone, we have lost 8 soldiers ”.

The German OSCE subsequently issued a statement on April 10 saying: “Russia did not respond to questions raised by Ukraine about: substantial Russian military activity near the Russia-Ukraine border and in Crimea. invaded. We support Ukraine’s request, pursuant to paragraph 16 #ViennaDocument, while calling on Russia to fulfill its obligations and provide clarity and transparency ”.

Former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko tweeted on April 13 that “the escalation in the east is a consequence of the current Ukrainian government’s desire for so-called” pacification of the invader. ” : we should not seek peace in Putin’s eyes ”.

From a conflict resolution standpoint, tools have been put in place to reduce crisis escalation, such as the Normandy Format. ending on 9 December 2019, in Paris, with the participation of France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine, the parties decided: 1) immediate measures to stabilize the situation in the conflict zone; 2) measures to implement the political rules of the Minsk agreements; and 3) Tracking. Why couldn’t they settle this low-intensity conflict that lasted for more than half a decade on the Ukraine-Russia border?

This is a classic example where there are no military solutions but instead political solutions to resolve and end this conflict. The question remains as to whether this is another post-Soviet conflict frozen on the European border, one that resulted in territories being divided and not recognized as Russian occupation. closed, as we have seen in Georgia’s Abkhazian and South Ossetia breakaway regions, like in the Transnitria region of Moldova?

Announced on April 8, the Global Trends Report, released by US intelligence agencies, “considers the international stage largely shaped by competition between China and the United States, along with other their ally. No country is ready to be the dominant force globally, the authors write. And competing powers will contend for positions, leading to “a geopolitical environment prone to conflict and upheaval”.

Looks like we’re back Current Status from The Cold War, as I told it in my 2014 book, Ukraine: Prémices de guerrillas to Europe? (Ukraine: The beginning of a new Cold War in Europe?), where the East is authoritarian against the democratic West. Or are we witnessing the so-called “No West”, which was the subject of the 2020 Munich Security Conference, when German conference president Ambassador Wolfgang Ischinger argued that we were at in “an unacceptable global insecurity”?

Since challenges such as transnational organized crime or global epidemics such as COVID-19 can only be resolved in cooperation, withdrawal of narrowly defined national interests will put all our whole future is at risk.

When trying to understand the current East-West impasse, a number of important factors need to be considered:

NATO defends Europe

Now is the time to show strength like Foreign Minister Antony Blinken did when speaking to NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg when he spoke at the coalition’s headquarters in Brussels on 23 March and again on April 14, when both of them hold a joint press conference. with US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin in the last announced withdrawal from Afghanistan and once again reiterating Washington’s support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

NATO is a transatlantic alliance of 30 powerful nations and accounts for 50% of the world’s GDP and 50% of the military might. It cannot be taken for granted. More than a billion people have chosen to join the alliance on a voluntary basis. They are the advocates for and defend freedom, democracy, the rules-based international order and peace. No nation can effectively cope with the challenges we face today.

Convention of Montreux in 1936 stated that non-coastal ships were prohibited from traveling by all aircraft carriers in the Black Sea for more than 21 days. If Ukraine joins NATO, will Turkey, Romania or Bulgaria join the war to protect themselves against Russia? If these NATO members are under attack, and according to Article 5, the United States will have an obligation to defend a NATO ally. Will China support Russia?

Ukraine is no longer economically dependent on Russia

Anders Aslund points out that Ukraine is no longer economically dependent on Russia. The country’s merchandise exports rose 5.8% to $ 50.1 billion, while imports rose 6.3% to $ 60.8 billion. Overall, the European Union has become important as a trading partner with 41.5% of Ukraine’s total merchandise exports and 41.1% of Ukraine’s imports. For many countries around the world, China has unexpectedly become the largest trading partner with 7.2% of Ukraine’s exports and 15.1% of Ukraine’s imports. China has replaced Russia as Ukraine’s first export partner.

Russia is Europe’s main energy supplier

Mert Bilgin writes: Moscow has become an indispensable energy supplier for the European and Turkish markets. : NordStream (capacity 55 bcm / y), Yamal-Europe via Belarus (33 bcm / y), BlueStream (16 bcm / y), Urengoy-Uzhgorod via Ukraine (142 bcm / y). Turkstream (63 bcm / y) and Yamal Europe-2 (15 bcm / y) will reduce gas shipments through Ukraine.

In 2017, Gazprom exported 194.4 bcm of gas (more than 90%) to European countries … with the highest volume delivered to Germany (52.44 bcm), Turkey (29.03 bcm). and Anh (16.26 bcm). But Russia is turning east with a new pipeline called “Siberian Power as part of the Sino-Russian gas deal.

Looks like the construction of the Nord Stream-2 isn’t likely to happen could be halted and the EU will punish Russia and companies working on this pipeline for “this project is very important to Germany because low Russian gas prices increase the efficiency of German industry…. The deployment of Nord Stream-2 will allow Germany to become Europe’s largest gas hub and will provide an opportunity to control prices in the fuel market.

Is joining NATO the only and best way to end the conflict / crisis in the Donbass? Washington is supporting Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, but is it willing to let it join the Western alliance through a membership action plan? Or will other member states block its access as Greece blocked North Macedonia’s access to membership?

Is Vladimir Putin testing President Biden’s determination as he reaches his first 100 days in office? “We are not trying to re-establish relations with Russia or escalate,” said a senior Biden administration official. Our goal is to impose costs on actions that we consider unacceptable while seeking stability, predictability, and temperature drop. He added: “If they have a tendency to increase the temperature, we are ready for that.”

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