Soldiers Born in Ukraine, a madness fortunately unachievable

It will be the shock of the disappearance of Alexey Navalny. It will be France's desire for protagonism. It will be the euphoria of Sweden joining NATO too, after Finland. The fact is that the unusual exit of French President Emmanuel Macron – “we cannot rule out the sending of Western troops to Ukraine” – has thrown Eastern European countries (i.e. those closest to Ukraine and Russia) into panic and alarmed the Kremlin itself. Who responded piquedly at the Elysée through spokesman Dmitry Peskov: “In this case, we should talk not about the probability, but about the inevitability of a conflict.”

Sharp denials about the Elysée head's hypothesis immediately came from Germany, with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz stating that “there will be no troops on the ground, nor soldiers sent by European states or NATO states on Ukrainian soil”; and so also from Spain, with a laconic “we do not agree” entrusted to the spokesperson of the Madrid government, Pilar Alegría; and by the United Kingdom itself, which excludes the possibility of sending troops to Ukraine.

Why, then, did Macron say what he said? First of all, the context: the occasion was the Paris conference on aid to Ukraine, the “counter-G7” which brought together representatives of the 27 member countries of the European Union, including 21 heads of state and government. Then, Macron's actual statement to the microphones of the international press: «This evening there was no agreement for the official sending of troops on the ground, but we cannot rule out anything».

So, between the lines, the true thoughts of the French president: «We will do everything possible to prevent Russia from winning this war, and I say this with determination, but also with the collective humility that we must have, in light of the last two years », as he stated during his statements to journalists.

Then the salient point: «The people who said “never, never” today are the same ones who said never, ever to planes, never, ever to long-range missiles, never, ever to aid trucks. They said all this two years ago. Many at this table had said “we will offer helmets and sleeping bags”, but now they say we must do more to get missiles and tanks. We must be humble, and realize that we have always been six to eight months late”, underlined the French head of state, announcing at the same time the creation of a new, unspecified coalition that will supply “missiles and bombs” in the medium and long range to Ukraine.

While all this has sent the secretariats of half of Europe into a tailspin, it also sends an explicit signal to Moscow, Kiev and Washington at the same time. And the signal appears as follows: the leaders of the European Union and the representatives of their respective governments are ready to defend Ukraine to the extreme consequences. And they are discussing it seriously. So much so that not only “we decided to intensify the part relating to ammunition and to produce tangible results very quickly” also in relation to the American hesitations, as Macron added. But, as the Polish president, Andrzej Duda, confessed, the hypothesis was really on the table: «The most heated discussion took place around the question of sending soldiers to Ukraine. And here too there was absolutely no agreement.” But in the meantime it has been discussed.

As if to say that the Europe that decides, regardless of the reassuring and corrective declarations of its leaders, is now convinced that winning this damned war has become (or has always been) a vital issue, and that consequently it is not even so far-fetched that sooner or later there will be a direct use of troops, in order to avoid the defeat of Kiev. Because the latter scenario would implicitly mean a complete disavowal of the actions of Brussels, which has invested too much money and provided too much support to the Ukrainians to be able to simply withdraw now, admitting defeat.

In light of these considerations, the ultimate meaning of Emmanuel Macron's declaration – “We will do everything possible to prevent Russia from winning this war” – takes on greater significance. Such an assertion, moreover, could hardly have been a rumor from the sen; and in fact it rather resembles a part of that program relating to defense policies that the EU is preparing to launch starting from 9 June (i.e., immediately after the European Parliament elections). And which today is also strengthened due to the reasonable positions of Hungary, the “rebel country” which has now bowed to the wishes of Brussels and which has in fact joined the Euro-Atlantic chorus, starting precisely from the unblocking of the entry of the Sweden in the Alliance, which passed through the unanimous vote of NATO member countries.

So, what to expect from the future? Meanwhile, those who saw the Russian capture of Avdiivka, a town in the Donetsk region of Ukraine, as a sign of a change of pace for the Russian army are perhaps a little too optimistic. It is true that the Ukrainian counteroffensive has substantially failed to achieve its objectives and that Kiev's troops are exhausted and running out of ammunition. But precisely the loss of Avdiivka and the almost simultaneous killing in prison of the opponent of the Russian regime Alexey Navalny are acting as an accelerator for the release of further funds destined for Kiev on both sides of the Atlantic. Here, in essence, is what may have convinced Macron to make similar statements: it is better to quickly allocate sufficient funds to Ukraine so as not to have to make up for the gap between the two armies by sending European troops. Otherwise, we would have to agree that Macron's statement was out of the ordinary among the usually prudent European heads of state and government.

On the American side, however, no one was shocked by Macron's exit. And if Joe Biden will have to wait for the House to reopen after February 28 before seeing the agreement between Democrats and Republicans to allocate funds translated into a vote, in the meantime his Administration is convinced of being able to bring home a negotiation which, on the one hand , will allow him to unblock the aid package to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan for a monstrous amount of 95.3 billion dollars. On the other hand, however, it will cost him a series of concessions to the Republicans on the issues dearest to Trump's party, such as that of migrants.

This is because Vladimir Putin's regime has also become a significant threat for the Americans, especially after the CIA revealed the Kremlin's intention to send a nuclear weapon into orbit: a nightmare for Western defense and communication systems.

Then there is a completely personal reason for Joe Biden that pushes him to want Russia and its leader defeated: the FBI has in fact discovered that Alexander Smirnov, the former Bureau agent who accused President Hunter Biden's son of having conducted illicit business in Ukraine, he had in reality been recruited by the Russian secret services, from which he had received the defamatory material with which the Republicans had attacked the president in view of the presidential elections. Which brought America back to the climate of 2016, when the specter of Russian interference and the manipulation of information and social media in the US elections contributed to putting Trump in the White House and Clinton in the dust.

Thus, the new joint initiatives of Brussels and Washington once again make sense, or rather a plan. Whether this forces the allies to put the proverbial «boots on the ground» or whether this allows the victory of Kiev and a diminutio of Moscow compared to the great powers, that's another matter entirely.

But if it is true that for Brussels the territorial unity of Ukraine is essential to stem Russian imperialism, for Washington the sense of continuing to finance the war fits into an even larger, and at the same time smaller, framework. The financing that will be voted on by Congress in March also involves Israel and Taiwan, and therefore almost the entire foreign policy of the United States. But at the same time it is also part of the race for the re-election of Joe Biden: in the event of a defeat in Congress on the weapons to be allocated to Kiev, the pro-Ukraine line of the president in office would be disavowed. And this could undermine his authority and pave the way for an unpredictable second Trump mandate.

At that point, Europe would likely be left alone to fight alongside Ukraine. And truly, as Macron prophesies today, at that point “sending Western troops to Ukraine” can no longer be ruled out.