N. Loiseau for Euractiv: Putin could be ‘geopolitical winner’ of Israel-Palestine war

2023-11-07 | Geopolitical analysis, Political initiatives

With all eyes now on the Middle East, the growing disinterest in Russia’s war in Ukraine is playing right into Putin’s hands, wrote French Renew lawmaker Nathalie Loiseau in an op-ed on Monday.

Loiseau, former French EU Affairs minister and chairwoman in the European Parliament’s subcommittee on Security and Defence, and co-author Benjamin Haddad, a pro-Macron French MP, expressed their concern in an op-ed published in Le Monde.

“The Kremlin is betting on [the West’s] lassitude to win its war against Ukraine,” as all eyes turn to the unfolding conflict in the Middle East, Loiseau wrote in the op-ed.

More specifically, the pair pointed to the US’ growing disinterest in the conflict.

“‘Trumpists’ are blocking Congress” from approving new financing from reaching Ukraine, they wrote, while “even for some Democrats, a case is being made that Ukraine is not a priority”.

The same appears to be true at the EU level, with Hungary refusing to approve necessary EU funding for arms and ammunition and Slovakia’s new pro-Putin Prime Minister, Robert Fico, announcing at the end of October that he would cut off military aid to Ukraine.

As for the EU’s top diplomat Josep Borrell’s suggestion in October that a €20 billion cap be secured as a financial guarantee to Ukraine for the next four years, “it has been met with no more than polite silence,” the op-ed reads.

At the same time, the final communiqué of the latest European Council reaffirms the EU’s support for Ukraine, and says the bloc “will continue to provide strong financial, economic, humanitarian, military and diplomatic support to Ukraine and its people for as long as it takes”.

The Israel-Gaza war has seen increasing diplomatic efforts from the US and European leaders to secure a ‘humanitarian pause’ – so far to no avail.

It has also raised fears that the West could become disengaged from Ukraine while calling into question whether the US can stay on top of multiple conflicts without compromising its own military readiness.

According to Loiseau, more must be done to strengthen the EU’s defence autonomy, where EU-wide ammunition procurement schemes and the “ammunition plan” are “a good start and very new, but suffer from underinvestment”. The European Defence Investment Plan “was promised a long time ago, and we’re still waiting for it,” the authors add.

The mid-term EU budget review may also be an adequate avenue to up financial support to Ukraine, but it’s so far falling short of any significant ambition, the MEP said: “The 27 [member states] are often against [new proposals] but rarely propose anything”.

“The chaos of the world is at the EU’s doorstep. Let’s not wait for this avalanche of crisis to reach us to give ourselves the means to protect our democracies under attack”, they added.

“It is urgent that we wake up”.

Originally published on Euractiv.

×