The war of choice that Russia has unleashed against Ukraine was the decision of one man, President Putin. Being “neutral” is a false concept here. One country has invaded another one. Putting them on the same footing fails to differentiate between the attacker and the attacked.
That’s according to a blog by EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell.
“Defending Ukraine from Russia’s invasion is rejecting the law of the jungle, the notion that “might makes right”. Being “neutral” is a false concept here. One country has invaded another one. Putting them on the same footing fails to differentiate between the attacker and the attacked. Such “neutrality” may respond, of course, to a variety of reasons, from hidden alignment to fear of reprisals, but it becomes in practice support to Russia and its war of aggression,” Borrell wrote.
He noted that the present conflict is not the outcome of centuries old hatreds: it is a war of choice, which is based on Vladimir Putin’s own interpretation of history and is not adapted to realities of the 21st century.
At the same time, Putin’s assumptions have proven clearly wrong: that the Ukrainian government would crumble and Russian forces would take Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities swiftly; that the European Union would be at pains to show resolve and respond to this aggression; that the “Western world” would be divided and uncertain in its reaction; and that the broader international community would not condemn Russia’s invasion.
Instead, Putin saw a consolidated and swift response on the part of the EU and its key international partners, as well as a powerful manifestation of Euro-Atlantic solidarity.
“Up to now, polls coming from Russia show significant support to the war, or rather the “special military operation” as baptised by the Russian leadership. However, this support rests on false information. If the Russian population knew what is happening, they would not be backing this awful conflict,” The EU High Representative said.
Read also: France to toughen sanctions against Russia after Macron re-election
He recalled that the Russian Duma had passed an impressive number of laws in the last weeks curtailing all possible freedom of reporting or expressing views on the war and imposing heavy penalties on anyone who does not accept the official version of events. Rallies against the war in multiple Russian cities have been repressed and the remaining free media have been fully silenced..
The authorities continue to peddle a false narrative of de-Nazification, coupled with allusions to undetermined threats against Russian security. Atrocities committed by Russian forces in Ukraine are shamelessly re-attributed to the Ukrainians.
“Such an accumulation of lies and falsehoods will backfire at some point. The Russian society is paying a high price for this war in many ways, and although the sanctions imposed by the EU and others in trying to end the conflict may initially help build a bunker mentality, the reality of events will one day be clear to Russian citizens. Tens of thousands have already left the country due to the war, the stifling censorship and the repression,” Borrell said.
In addition, this is even truer because so far military activities have not favored Russia, despite its overwhelming military capacity when compared to Ukraine. Its Northern operation has been a failure and it has had to adjust its plans to concentrate its attacks on the Donbas and the South.
“History has repeatedly shown that wars of invasion are rarely successful. Even when weaker or less organised, the entire population of the invaded country often ends up rising against the invader or supporting those that fight against him,” Borrell recalled.