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  • Writer's pictureAnton Kuchuhidze

International Press Review dated February 26 - March 8, 2024

Over the past few weeks, the media has been actively raising the question of probable deployment of Western ground troops in Ukraine. This topic was discussed in Paris during a conference in support of our country. Obviously, our Western partners realize that the united Europe is now facing new challenges. EU countries need a long-term defense strategy, modernization of defense production and armed forces.


According to Le Monde, during the conference, Emmanuel Macron presented a number of initiatives aimed at strengthening Ukraine in the fight against russian invasion, and suggested that even the deployment of Western ground troops remains possible in achieving Europe's goal of confronting moscow. Macron stated: "We firmly believe that the defeat of russia is crucial for the security and stability of Europe. We will make every effort to ensure that russia does not emerge victorious in this conflict."


Mr. Macron emphasized the need for Western countries to adopt a more proactive approach that "recognizes the evolution of the threat from both a military and strategic perspective."


The Netherlands became another country that joined security allience with Ukraine. President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Prime Minister of the Netherlands Mark Rutte signed an agreement on security cooperation between the two countries. In particular, the state pledged to provide military assistance worth €2 billion in 2024. This was reported by Le Monde.


In an editorial from The Wall Street Journal, the authors emphasize that Ukrainian soldiers are protecting the rest of Europe by holding the line against russia, and anyone who thinks putin will stop after taking Kyiv should look at this week's events in Moldova.


Recently, Transnistria, a breakaway region of Moldova, appealed to the russian federation to "take diplomatic measures to protect/defend Transnistria." After putin launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022, all of Transnistria's trade passes through customs and border crossing points subordinated to the Moldovan capital Chișinău. Moldova is seeking to reintegrate Transnistria, and this year it introduced rules requiring companies in the breakaway region to pay import and export duties that will go to Moldova's national budget. "Protecting" the russian-speaking population or separatist regions is a classic scenario used by racists to foment instability and then send in troops.


At the moment, Moldova's only defense is Ukraine, which has stopped the russian advance west of Kherson and pushed the russian fleet back into the Black Sea. This protected Moldova from the imminent threat of russian military intervention.

I am convinced that Ukraine's allies and partners will continue to remain united in supporting Ukraine in the face of racist aggression, and this is once again confirmed by joint actions. Quoting President Zelenskyy, I would like to add that "there can be no lack of courage in supporting Ukraine and supplying weapons, because if partners have made a decision on the territorial integrity of Ukraine and the protection of its sovereignty, then there is no need to hesitate for a long time, but to take appropriate steps forward."

 



Emmanuel Macron unveiled on Monday, February 26, a series of initiatives aimed at fortifying Ukraine in its ongoing fight against Russian invasion, suggesting that even the deployment of Western ground forces remained a possibility in the pursuit of Europe's objective to counter Moscow. Russia, he said, was showing a "more aggressive attitude not just in Ukraine but in general," adding "We firmly believe that Russia's defeat is pivotal for Europe's security and stability."


While there was "no consensus" on the sending of Western ground troops to Ukraine, "no option should be discarded. We will spare no effort to ensure that Russia does not emerge victorious in this conflict."




Ursula von der Leyen nevertheless took a step forward on Wednesday, February 28. "It is time to start a conversation about using the windfall profits of frozen Russian assets," declared the Commission president before the European Parliament in Strasbourg. "There could be no stronger symbol and no greater use for that money than to make Ukraine and all of Europe a safer place to live," she stressed.


While the EU has frozen, according to the Commission, around €28 billion worth of yachts and other properties owned by Russian or Belarusian oligarchs in the name of sanctions against Moscow, they do not plan to seize these private properties.




Ukraine and the Netherlands signed a security agreement on Friday, March 1, that will provide Kyiv with €2 billion of military aid this year, President Volodymyr Zelensky said.


Kyiv has faced intense pressure on the frontline in the past three months and has urged Western allies to send more aid as it struggles with ammunition shortages.

The agreement came during a meeting between Zelensky and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte in Kharkiv, Ukraine's second-largest city and a frequent target for Russian attacks.




French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday, March 5, urged Ukraine's allies "not to be cowardly" in supporting the country to fight off the Russian invasion. And Macron added that he "fully stood behind" controversial remarks made last week not ruling out sending Western troops to Ukraine, which sent a shockwave around Europe. "We are surely approaching a moment for Europe in which it will be necessary not to be cowardly," Macron said on a visit to the Czech Republic, which is pushing a plan to buy weapons outside Europe for Ukraine.




Ukrainian soldiers protect the rest of Europe as they hold the line against Russia, and anyone who thinks Vladimir Putin would stop after taking Kyiv should look at this week’s developments in Moldova.


Moldova’s only protection is Ukraine, which has stopped the Russians from advancing west of Kherson and has driven the Russian navy back in the Black Sea. This has shielded Moldova from the imminent threat of a Russian military intervention.


But Ms. Sandu said last year that Chișinău had thwarted an attempt to overthrow her democratic government. Moldova’s next presidential election is this autumn, and Mr. Putin as usual is stoking trouble in Russian-speaking areas of the country. If Ukraine falls, Moldova could be the Kremlin’s next target.




The eu could go one better. The flow of income from Russia’s assets will continue. The eu could therefore launch and guarantee a vehicle whose debts are serviced using the income from Russia’s funds. By issuing bonds, this vehicle could raise a large upfront amount to be sent straight to Ukraine. Investing the €132bn cash balance in five-year German debt would yield about €3.2bn per year, enough to service almost €114bn of joint eu debt at the same maturity. The figures would rise as more of Russia’s portfolio vests into cash. Such large amounts would both pay for ammunition now and signal to Russia that Ukraine has the economic staying-power to carry on the war.

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