Getting from rebalancing to ceasefire in Ukraine


Once again, America saved Ukraine. By voting, on April 21, for a resolution allocating to Kiev a gigantic aid of $61 billion – or double Poland’s total annual military budget – the House of Representatives has, in the short term, given a tremendous boost to the morale of the Ukrainian population.

Ukraine was certainly disappointed by the failure of her army’s offensive on three fronts in the summer of 2023, and even worried after the Russian victory in February this year at Avdiivka, a former Ukrainian fortress town located northwest of Donetsk, which threatened a crucial Russian route for land supplies to Crimea.

In the medium term, American aid – which has every chance of being quickly approved by the Senate and promulgated by the president – will rebalance a military situation which was turning to the advantage of the Russians.

The latter, after having victoriously repelled the Ukrainian mechanised attacks of 2023 thanks to the fortifications of their “Surovikin line”, have imposed an exhausting war of attrition on the Ukrainian army since the beginning of 2024 thanks to the superiority of their artillery.

They even manage to gain ground, village after village, in the Donbass region, disputed since 2014.

With the long-range missiles that the Americans will deliver, Ukraine will be able to block any Russian offensive in depth, starting with the old project of crossing the Dnieper, taking Odessa and junction with the remains of the 14th Russian Army based in Transnistria (pro-Russian secessionist Moldovan territory located on the eastern bank of the Dniester River).

Indeed, there is no serious offensive without prior constitution of significant stocks of ammunition, fuel and food. Informed by American spy satellites, the Ukrainians will now have, with their new missiles, the possibility of preventively destroying these stocks.

In short, the new American aid – which is added to existing European aid (a facility of 50 billion euros for the period 2024-2027 was decided by the European Council on February 1) – removes the hypothesis of a military collapse of Ukaine. The country with the gold and blue flag will retain its freedom and independence from Moscow.

Does this mean that the Ukrainian army will one day be able to defeat the army of Russia, in order to take back Crimea and the Don basin, and return to the borders of 1991, the date of independence of Ukraine?

No. In international relations, the desirable is not always the possible. The demographic report is too unfavorable for Ukraine. The Russian contingents will always be more numerous than the Ukrainian contingents.

An offensive supposes that we can deploy, at one place on the front, troops at the rate of three men for one enemy. The Ukrainian army does not have such human resources.

And all the more so since young Ukrainian men of age to be mobilised – the legal age has just been lowered from 27 to 25 – do not, in the majority, want to be killed to recover the Russian-speaking lands of the Don basin and Crimea. Thousands tried to cross abroad to escape conscription.

Under these conditions, the American president would be well advised to use the new position of strength granted to him by Congress to open discussions with Russia and see if it would accept a ceasefire.

The latter would of course be accompanied by the maintenance of strict Western security guarantees for Ukraine.

It is very clear today that neither the Russians, nor the Ukrainians, nor the Europeans, nor even the Americans have the slightest interest in the continuation of this war, which is devouring the Slavic and Christian youth of the east of Europe. 

America wants to focus on its rivalry with China , in order to maintain control of the Indo-Pacific.

Europe needs to repair its economy. Ukraine must rebuild its infrastructure and prepare its institutions for the integration promised to it by the European Union.

Russia, which was the aggressor, must understand that its “special military operation” has failed and that the Islamic State is its civilisational enemy, which Ukraine, which is simply freedom-loving, is not.

Of course, this ceasefire will not turn into a peace treaty overnight. It is not tomorrow that a Ukrainian government will agree to formally abandon a territory recognised by international law since 1991.

As for Vladimir Putin, he does not seem ready to return the slightest square kilometre of conquered territory, which would be understood as an admission of defeat by the Russian population.

Territorial issues will therefore have to be discussed later, when emotions and grievances have subsided. After all, it took forty-five years for a formal peace treaty to be signed between Germany and Poland after the end of the Second World War.

The neo-conservatives, omnipresent on television sets in the West, will shout and invoke Munich, as they do every time we campaign to prevent or stop a war. They have already done so for Iraq in 2003 and Libya in 2011.

They prefer their dreams of justice and democracy to peace. Climbing doesn’t scare them. They believe war is joyous.

Because neither they nor their sons have ever done it.

This post first appeared in Le Figaro on 23 April.

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