As Kyiv gets ready to commemorate the somber and terrible one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion, Joe Biden’s unexpected trip to Ukraine on Monday is a startling demonstration of support and an intended strong message to Moscow.
The Ukrainian leadership was naturally happy to see the US president, but as a dedicated observer of Europe, one comment in particular caught my attention.
Andriy Melnyk, deputy foreign minister, praised “the presence of our vital, main partner.”
It ought to be Europe, right?
The primary threat posed by Vladimir Putin’s aggressive ambition is to European security. He has reintroduced conventional warfare to this continent on a scale not seen since World War Two as a result of his invasion of Ukraine.
The sense of calm and relative security that most of us were accustomed to has been destroyed by his acts. The potential of a nuclear assault is being addressed as a serious possibility, albeit a remote one, for the first time since the Cold War.
Yet, Europe is made up of many different parts, both inside and outside the EU.
The Russian incursion has served as a stark warning to Europeans—including France’s President Macron, a vocal supporter of Europe’s “strategic autonomy”—that the region cannot rely only on itself for defense. In comparison to the US, they lack the resources, the military might, and the undivided resolve (and even there, some tiny political fractures are beginning to show).
Having saying that, the Kremlin underrated Europeans last year.
It wagered on their weakness and complete division, with each nation solely considering its own interests (like stable energy prices). China also serves as a distraction for the United States. Vladimir Putin miscalculated the leaders’ willingness to support Ukraine and their vision of stability in Europe.
Europe was altered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Notwithstanding differences in speed or reluctance, nations have united to impose unprecedented penalties on Russia. The first red lines set by the Western allies have been regularly crossed as they have united to provide increasingly potent weapons to aid Ukraine.
That unity, however flawed, continues to hold as the battle near its second year. Notwithstanding the fact that there are certain signs of public unrest.