Peace is not in sight in Ukraine, despite the various setbacks Russia has suffered since the start of the invasion on February 24 last year. “Very clearly, the time is not for dialogue,” said French President Emmanuel Macron at the Security Conference of Munichwhere he took advantage of making his my fault for having taken Vladimir Putin at his word a year ago.
“A year ago I spoke to Putin and he assured me that the Wagner group had nothing to do with him – that it was just a business project. I believed it. Today we see that the Wagner group is involved in the Russian war against Ukraine. It has become a new mafia tool to create crime and injustice,” Macron said.
For the French head of state, the future of the war is uncertain, the end is not in sight and, he guaranteed, Ukraine’s allies “are ready for a prolonged conflict”. And, for that reason, he took the opportunity to ask European countries to “invest massively” in their defence, at the same time proposing to organize a “conference on air defense in Europe”.
“I think it’s wise that we prepare for a long war,” said the German chancellor. Olaf Scholz also took the opportunity to contradict the Russian position that, by arming Ukraine, the West is contributing to prolong the war. “It is not the weapons we are supplying that prolong the war, it is the exact opposite.”
The sooner the Russian President realizes “that he will not be able to achieve his imperialist objective, the greater the chances of this war ending soon and that the Russian conquering troops will retreat”, added the German Chancellor.
At the same time, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, returning to videoconferences, urged his allies to “accelerate” the arrival of aid to Kiev because the great Russian spring offensive has already begun. “There is no alternative to speed. Because she is the one who saves lives, ”he said. Immediate speed in sending the arms and ammunition that the allies had already promised and considerable speed in integrating Ukraine into the European and transatlantic family.
“There is no alternative” if not Ukraine’s entry into the European Union and NATO. And, as he had done before in Brussels, in relation to the EU, now at the Munich Conference, the “Defence Davos”, as they call it, asked for the same with regard to entry into the Atlantic Alliance: accelerated membership.
The German forum, which was created to be a stage where even the most hostile nations in the world could attempt a dialogue, has been transformed into a club where Russia and Putin only enter as a direct target of general invectives. It is the general pariah.
Macron, according to guardian, even enumerated the succession of defeats that the Russian President has been accumulating since, a few days after the Munich Conference of 2022, he launched his forces against Ukraine. A war that wanted to be quick has become prolonged; failing to legitimize, it became neocolonial; the intended strategic anticipation ended up pushing Sweden and Finland towards NATO; and, finally, the prestige it could gain turned into a distrust that will affect Moscow’s relations with the world in the years to come.
To the point that one of Moscow’s most intense allies in recent years, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, was received with smiles by western leaders in Munich after, in recent times, clearly distancing himself from Russia. “We have said from the beginning that we cannot support the Russian invasion of Ukraine,” he explained recently in a declaration cited by Foreign Policy. “For us, Crimea is Ukraine, Donbass is Ukraine – and so it will remain.”
Statements that may target other interests in the near future. In Munich, Vucic would have taken the idea that Belgrade could serve as a mediator in the conflict in Ukraine. The fact that he did not impose sanctions on the Russians – in fact, in May of last year, he even signed a contract of three years for the purchase of gas from Russia –, gave it the necessary neutrality to play the role, as the outgoing President of the Czech Republic, Milos Zeman, defended at the end of January, on a visit to Belgrade. Adding China and Turkey as alternatives.
Putin wrote to his counterpart on Wednesday, on the occasion of Serbia’s national day, praising “Serbia as an important and reliable partner of Russia”, quotes Reuters. In the letter, whose content was disclosed by the Serbian presidency, the Russian President praises “the path of balanced foreign policy that Belgrade is implementing in a complicated international environment” and is “convinced” that the deepening of the “Russian-Serb strategic partnership is what best expresses the interests of our sister nations”.