War in Ukraine: three missed opportunities and a major threat

President Zelensky has admitted for the first time that the Ukrainian counter-offensive has failed. The war is now in a „new phase“, he said. It could become dangerous – former Foreign Minister Fischer is calling for nuclear weapons.

„We wanted faster results. From that perspective, unfortunately, we did not achieve the desired results. And this is a fact,“ Selenskyj said in an AP interview. It is the first time that he has openly admitted the failure. Previously, he had rejected similar statements by Chief of the General Staff Salushnyj.

The big question now is what will come of the debacle. The EU and NATO are practising perseverance slogans. War fatigue is now the biggest problem, they say in Brussels. The proxy war should continue – whatever the cost!

But this has little to do with reality. In truth, the biggest problem is the lack of strategy – and the dwindling manpower of the Ukrainian army.

Ukraine is running out of soldiers, which is why Zelenskyi wants to reform and tighten up conscription once again. But even that is unlikely to achieve much – as Kremlin leader Putin has simultaneously announced that he intends to increase the size of the Russian army once again!

The strategic blindness with which the West has been struck is also worrying. This has already been demonstrated several times. Since the start of the Russian invasion, three major opportunities to end the war or at least bring it to a calmer conclusion have already been missed.

The first opportunity was the Ukrainian-Russian negotiations in spring 2022, which could have ended the war quickly, as even Kiev now admits.

The second opportunity came in autumn 2022, after the Ukrainian reconquests. Kiev could have used this opportunity to negotiate, even from a position of strength.

The third chance came with the spring offensive. It was only conducted militarily and the promised diplomatic initiatives were neglected. The Ukrainian „peace formula“, i.e. victory, was relied on unilaterally – an illusion, as we know today.

The fourth – and perhaps last – chance

Now there is a fourth chance – to reconsider the war aims and initiate negotiations to end the war before the US presidential election. That would be in the American interest, but also in the well-understood European interest.

Because left to its own devices, the EU cannot help Ukraine to victory. It cannot even supply enough ammunition – let alone weapons. Moreover, the EU has no military or diplomatic strategy that points the way forward.

But instead of finally assessing the situation realistically and drawing the necessary conclusions, EUrope is putting itself in grave danger. The EU leaders are focussing on massive armament and – like former Foreign Minister Fischer – are not even ruling out nuclear weapons.

Where will this lead? To war between the EU and Russia?

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