The winter months are just around the corner, and with them comes a defining moment for the war in Ukraine: the ability of its Western allies to maintain union in support of the kyiv government in a conflict that is entrenched on the fronts and that affects the energy and food security of the planet.
The unity of the United States, its European partners and other Western allies in sending arms and in providing economic support to Ukraine was decisive for the government led by Volodimir Zelensky to be able to face the invasion by Russia, started at the end of last February.
A month and a half after its one year of war, in an inflationary economic environment, the cracks in that unity are increasingly evident on both sides of the Atlantic.
Support for Ukraine “requires sacrifices from all of us,” Wendy Sherman, US Deputy Secretary of State, said Thursday from Paris, in a virtual meeting with European media and analysts in which ABC participated. She recognized what to do those sacrifices can be “very hard” in the face of the effects of the war on energy and food and that “nerves of steel and an unwavering commitment” are required.
Doubts from the Republican Party
Sherman’s words come at a time when the willingness to make those sacrifices is increasingly in question. In the US, a sector of the Republican party, the closest to former President Donald Trump, strongly questions the resounding support for kyiv, which has cost US coffers more than $19 billion in armament.
The Republicans, who as of January will control the House of Representatives, have accepted the proposal of that sector to audit these multimillion-dollar disbursements. At the same time, popular support for Ukraine suffers, according to a poll published by ‘The Washington Post’ this week. Americans who support indefinite US support for Ukraine has fallen to 40% in November, compared to 58% in July. Now, 47% of Americans believe that Washington should put pressure on kyiv for a quick peace deal.
This is a contentious issue, with increasing support among Western allies and which has also had an echo in the US. The Joe Biden government has always sought not to prioritize negotiations for a quick solution to the conflict over the Ukrainian demand for expel the Russian invader beyond its borders. But last month, General Mark Milley, the US Army chief of staff, slipped that winter could be a good opportunity for Ukraine to use its advances at the front in recent months to negotiate peace with Moscow.
Anger of Eastern Europe with Macron
To this are added discordant voices on the other shore. In recent weeks, that of the French president, Emmanuel Macron, who has assured that Russia’s “security guarantees” will have to be taken into account when they occur negotiations between kyiv and Moscow. It is a reference to the expansion of NATO in the region, as demanded by Ukraine, and which provoked the anger of other European partners, especially those from the East.
“Of course there are voices saying ‘let’s end this conflict,'” Sherman acknowledged. “But it is also true that everyone says ‘nothing about Ukraine without Ukraine,” he added about the mantra that the Biden Administration has repeated.
“There are always going to be people who say ‘we want this to end’, who, for one reason or another, have a hard time staying focused on supporting Ukraine,” he said. “But we have to remember what is at stake here. This, first of all, is about Ukraine and its ability to be a sovereign state and decide your future. But it is also about not allowing one country to invade another with impunity. Because then we are all at risk.”
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism