George N. Tzogopoulos: The War in Ukraine and Europe’s Choice

29 March 2023. As long as the conflict in Ukraine persists, predictions about its future evolution are hard to make,” writes Dr George N. Tzogopoulos, lecturer and Director of EU-China Programmes at CIFE in his recent paper “The War in Ukraine and Europe’s Choice”: “While European unity has been impressive since 24 February 2022, tensions lurk beneath the surface. The Baltic countries and Poland feel vindicated in their diachronic assessment of Russia and push toward a more muscular EU stance, which is not necessarily endorsed by other member states. Recently, President Macron appeared milder when he said that ‘Russia must be defeated but not crushed’.” (…)
In strategic parlance, the continuation of the war in Ukraine brings the EU to an awkward position, says Tzogopoulos, outlining three scenarios for an end to the war: “A victory for Kyiv, a victory for Moscow, and a stalemate where conflict would occasionally continue, and stability would be fragile.

While the first scenario is the optimum and the second the worst for Europe, the third is a typical situation for 21st century wars. It is in the interests of the EU for hostilities to come to an end but not under terms which will equate the aggressor with the victim. The EU does not have the capacity to impose the terms of a potential settlement but is able to somewhat contribute toward this end. As already mentioned, more emphasis on the European strategic autonomy concept will enable the EU to better defend its interests – even in cases where it agrees with the USA such as the invasion of Ukraine by Russia. Due to geography the continuation of the war is more painful for Europe than it is for the USA.”
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